that’s what they were –
those super dry closed-mouth pecks
under the sleeping bag on the cot
with Kimberly the summer
Uncle Jim couldn’t find work.
Eight years old was too young
to notice her high Indian cheekbones
and jet black hair. It was not too young
to be spellbound by the whiteness
of her smile or the way it crushed
There we were, lying next to each other.
I was shaking the way I had imagined
But, Kimberly was smiling at me. So, we pressed
chapped lips together over and over again
until there was nothing left for a little boy
I asked her if she would marry me.
She told me that cousins can’t
and, of course, I believed her –
she was ten years old and knew
long-division and cursive.
We lay there together, hiding
our heads in the hot underneath
of the lumpy cotton bag. Before long,
we got up, went outside and started
Off the Coast - Spring 2013