despite the heat advisory, I brought my son to swim. ninety-four degrees on July 4th and Cleveland has been grilling ribs since 9AM and bottle rocket blasting since June 15th. My son runs off — but Antonio, thumbprinted mark of Cain beshouldered, ever-belligerent, redmopped stutterer with metal-backed teeth — comes to spit self-conscious impudence. He may sway to full-bore bully in annum but now the question growling in his seven-year skull remains unanswered. I father at him, a learned herding, outflank, astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style. Girls with fresh breasts, too shy to show their bikinis under shirt, come tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger take turns sitting on spout of fountainspray, hands trickling down… ever all-pursued by some omnipresent brown brawl of boys, stumble-tongued and puppy-eager. And I feel my age as the only parent here — adrift of vigor — cross-legged on a threadbare blanket palms flat into ground grit — A tart magnanimity, and all these young running to be old. As children suspect we withhold — I clutch this. It is right to keep from them. The patrimony, my first taste of entropy as cool lemonade. I died when my life became my child’s. Already my blood only heats between hot concrete and sky blaze. As something done grown, I watch this pack of growing things. A soggy neon ellipsis with spirals of water flung as it flies. A poor throw brings the ball to the feet of Antonio and the children all shout his name. All shout his name. A bend and I see fingers squeeze water; drops stutter poolside, the metal creak of the lifeguard stand. ALL shout his name. A choice made but inept arm betrays — launched in the general vicinity of no one. An eruption of water and from the scrum suddenly the whole pool is playing catch. Old men and lifeguards, my son astride my shoulders arms aloft and we all shout his name. All brought to life for what I’ll remember as — amid sun and the shadows of lost dogs — the moment when Antonio was king.