By Mary E. O’Dell

Jan 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

We’re on Nancy’s porch,

the six of us,

wild with summertime,

drunk on heat and humidity

and feeling invincible

for we’re all driving now.

We’ve recently been seen

flying down that curvy road

to the frozen custard stand

after which we were ratted on

by the cute guy who works for my daddy,

so I’m the one

who got called on the carpet.

But here we are past that fiasco

and on to new thrills.

It’s two a.m. and we’re piled on blankets,

curled together,

mid-century innocent of sexual confusion,

just a bunch of girls

giggling and smoking cigarettes,

which afterward we fieldstrip with expertise,

sprinkling the spent tobacco

into the lush summer grass

and rolling the paper into pellets

we flip into the yard

to be melted by coming rain.

After the cigarettes (filched from dads

and the farthest thing from the minds of our mothers)

we have a darker plan:

down the street and around the bend

is the swimming pool. Its face gleams black

in the light of a salacious moon.

When it’s late enough that parents

are sleeping or otherwise occupied,

we creep toward this illicit destination.

Arriving at the pool, we hesitate,

contemplate the 12-foot fence,

then climb, monkey-toed, to the top,

where, with meticulous care,

we negotiate the deadly crown of barbed wire.

Then it’s down the other side,

down to the summer-warm cement

and the shedding of shorts and shirts,

the seeing/not-seeing

of each other’s breasts and small triangles

blonde and brown.

Then the slide into that dark gleam,

the stir of pulses low in our bellies,

the silky suck of water.

This night is not about cigarettes or stealth.

It is not about mothers

and what they pretend they do not know.

It is about this water,

these bodies, together

in this water.