I should be running along a path after jumping, breathless, from a stony
bank into a chasm filled with mossy water and shivery, splintered rocks.
I should be running wet-haired and age thirteen up a path away from the water
and the voices calling me. Voices, waiting for girls in cutoffs, donning scabbed-over
bug bites as camouflage. Girls in shirts with iron-on decals proclaiming, “Disco
is Dead but Rock is Rolling.”
My shame should be hard-hearted and smoldering, the whole walk home, tar sticking
to the bottoms of sockless sneakers. So hot I should dip my toes into the icy
brook from which the cows drink, small fish darting, insidious in the grass.
Later shivering in a sleeping bag on the lawn, all crabgrass and dandelion,
I should watch the cold night pass above the hemlocks. Waiting for the dew
to wake me, when the scrawny cur with the rotting head of a heifer in its jaws
comes home to show me what he has found.
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