No Shoes Allowed

Not open to the public but I’m in,
costumed, towel in hand, flip-flops against
the sterile floor - I take them off,
put the towel on that chair, the one
no one uses, slip silently into the pool.
It is unaccountably warm, like sliding into a bath,
I watch the ripples spread from my outstretched hands
Of the three lanes, I choose the fast one
swim anticlockwise in the clockwise lane.
There’s no one behind me,
no ‘Our Lady of the Sorrows’,
no ‘Pot-Belly Man’,
no ‘Bolting Jack Rabbit’,
no ‘Sisters of Mercy’,
clogging the lane.
No one but me, so I turn around half way,
float on my back lengthways across the width,
climb out, jump in screaming,
make a hell of a din, hear sounds
multiply against cold stone walls.
I’m first in the changing room,
showers still hot,
I steal all the shampoo,
leave my towel on the floor,
escape through the fire exit
just as they’re opening.

Maggie Reed, originally from Cumbria now lives in West Malvern where she writes poetry and short stories. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2015 with a merit in an MA in Creative Writing and in 2017 achieved a Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes at the Metanoia Institute, London.
In 2016 Maggie had three poems published in the North magazine and won third prize in the Settle Sessions Poetry Competition. In 2017 she had another poem published in the North and self-published her first pamphlet ‘Life Lines’. Previously, in 2011 she won a merit in the Nottingham Open Competition.