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Scaling the Chain-link Fence to the Neighborhood Pool

July 13, 2010 by · No comments

Charlotte Pence

Photo: Sam Ilić

Twelve, sneaking out, we went to the pool on a dare
and stripped in silence. When the moonlight pinkened
my nipples, I stared, and allowed them to stare.
In the curls of Michael’s pubic hair, light glistened

like tiny beads of mercury. No one joked
or touched, aware how easily and harshly
all private moments will change. Stroke after stroke
arms raised and lowered strings of crystal jewelry.

How lightly droplets echoed when only one swam.
A softened clatter, a spilling upward, thin
as rippled air in that space between a priest’s hand
and sinner’s chest, a cross of absolution.

Nothing could wave away our feeling doomed—
yet content: living one night as if it would be
our lives. And now, doesn’t the same full moon
and sense of what’s untenable urge me

to think of my husband, stare at a black patch webbing
between the tops of two pines, stripped by blight?
That empty space—a palm that’s holding something
out for me—a palm that others call the night.

Categories: Frontpage · poetry


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