Poetry | June 01, 2007

The year I became a summertime blonde,
I moved through air thick as mink, lingered
most evenings at Bloom School.


I turned slowly on the lowest swing, let dirt
slip and fall between the soft peninsulas of my toes
while waiting to be cured by the salty taste of boys.


Barefoot, my breasts warmed by the triangular sail
of a fruit-colored halter top, I fingered the strap marks
hours in the sun had left on my body like a petroglyph.


During the slowness of dusk, one of the boys would coax me
toward blackberry thickets which rambled on and on
about the eroticism of their tight, green fruits.


The sharp tang locked inside each chartreuse bite
was enough to stain my sense of the sensual
with desire. All summer long, I lay beneath


those pea-sized constellations, touching the berries, one
by one, while my body shaped itself into a bowl
deep enough to hold all that might perish,


like fruit in dreamy heat. One boy tore off
the strip of rawhide I kept tied
around my ankle and called a bat scare


as though it were an exotic scrap of lingerie.
He slipped it between my teeth, warded off
sounds murmured from within, sounds elongated


by his touch, low and vibrating, like the altos
in the church choir who took me beyond the feminine.
Suddenly, I saw a bat flurry about.


I watched while it scoured the twilit sky
of its dark, edible particles. My ears felt warm,
tongued almost by the bat’s silken motion


and not by the boy whose hands went underneath the top
of the lime green bikini which held my breasts
like heavy suggestions. I, too, wanted to pilot


by invisible bands of sound and retreat into darkness
and nuance, shadow-shifting shyness
and movement akin to perfect pitch.


Haunted by bat cry, by the warbling presence of this night—
christened creature, my flesh sounded out
its deepest sense while engulfed


by all the erotic is engrossed in. Touched
and taught, I drifted into blossom—
eerie, wanting, far from free.

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