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Swimming at Dusk with my Sisters after Visiting the Hall of Fame, 1995

Published on:
May 17, 2021
Read time:
1 min.
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Lynda’s saying not to kiss before marriage.
Navy swimsuits hunched on a pier
lake ringed with pine trees in the bleachers
anxious to see how this curve ball will play.
The freakishness of fifteen is
a dent in the fender of myself, all angles
and no curves, hair feral
with all the nine lives
of a stray cat. She’s telling us
wait. That’s what good girls do. Wait.

With my big toe I stir the surface
and say, it’s just a kiss,
not going all the way
home. For weeks I’ve imagined my first
the nearness of two faces
circling like pale moths
in porch light. Which boy
I couldn’t begin to guess.
I don’t know how to dive, I say,
to change the subject. 
A hush falls over the crowd.

The lake trembles at our voices
move your toes to the edge
relax, sit back
birds spiralling
in the wine breath of heat
crack of the pier
rocking, heaving
and isn’t this God too
I wonder at the bellow of frogs
and pulse in my wrists
isn’t this God

my body bent into a question mark
somewhere between kneeling
and standing, the lake
ready to receive
and Lynda’s coaching
is making lips across the surface.

Allie Bullivant
Allie Bullivant is a poet turned stay at home mom and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of Oxford.

Cover image by Luca N

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