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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.

—Geraldine Connolly

from Province of Fire, 1998
Iris Press, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Copyright 1998 by Geraldine Connolly.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Iris Publishing Co. For further permissions information, contact Robert B. Cumming, Iris Press, 1345 Oak Ridge Turnpike, PMB320, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Geraldine Connolly (1947- ) is the author of three poetry collections, including Hand of the Wind (Iris Press, 2009). Connolly was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Learn more about Geraldine Connolly at The Poetry Foundation