The sun, different here,
piercing, yet diffused by northern slants.
The boat glides,
the cousins talk across the years.
They try to catch up decades in the slow glide
across water, life, love,
I’d like to say there is no catching up.
But I don’t. Can’t think it.
Can only try to bridge it,
explain, expound, talk through the details.
Like: what was school like?
Or: how was it growing up with a single mother,
and, importantly, where are you going?
Our eyes are hidden behind dark glasses.
We cannot see the flickers of fear, hesitancy.
It suits us both.
Rowing is hard work.
She takes off her light jacket,
the sun dips and bounces off her muscles.
They bulge, as a man’s might,
but with a more feminine grace and fluidity.
We row, the boat glides,
at the bridge we turn around.
She’s looking at me.
Far off, on the bank of the river,
weekenders make believe summer’s here.
That’s still in the future.
There’s a small line of sweat starting to
stain her top.
Did you choose deliberately?
Her breasts are bolstered by a WonderBra.
Does she know? Can she see my eyes?
Is my nonchalance practiced enough?
For months I will wonder at this moment,
I will write about it,
explore it in therapy,
try to excacate its depths.
And always, I will come up empty-handed.
Poor for my lack,
and made poorer still for my fear.
First published here