We played clapping games in sixth grade,
wrote the names of the boys we liked
goose drank wine
on our bare legs. Lee was the first at everything,
daring enough to lift my skirt to find his name
monkey chewed tobacco
on my knee. Cool girls changed the names every other
week, but his was the only name I wrote on my skin.
on the street car line.
He was the first to hold my hand, the first
to kiss me at the show, Thoroughly Modern Millie.
He could talk me into anything — I would have followed
him anywhere but my parents wouldn’t let me go
monkey got choked
when he asked me to go rafting with his brothers.
Spring run-off, they said. Submerged logs, driftwood snags-
and they all went to heaven in a little row boat.
too easy to drown this time of year.
(photo by W. O’Keefe)