Poetry Friday is hosted by the one and only Jama Rattigan @ Jama’s Alphabet Soup (welcome back, Jama, we’ve missed you!)
Two ex students floated into my classroom today to say hello. They helped themselves to the leftover munchkins (what was left of the let’s-celebrate-the-end-of-testing party), enjoying every last morsel of powdered cinnamon and sugar, and then pirouetting around the room to demonstrate their new dance moves. What was on their minds? Summer, of course, the summer they would both turn sixteen.
It was hard not to smile as I listened and watched them flit about, all high voices and sweet giggles. Oh, to be about to turn sixteen…with dreams of a summer spent riding ones bike to the town pool, and lounging happily all the lazy, lovely, delicious day.
The Summer I Was Sixteen
The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.
Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,
danced to the low beat of “Duke of Earl”.
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled
cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,
mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.