Morses Pond

Dude, you’re totally not supposed to be here.
Your sister’s going to be pissed.

Here is dark. There’s a window
above me, and light in the window.
People are walking out here
in the window-light
a little like they’re swimming.

I look up.
There’s a silhouetted face
in the window.

Is everyone drunk?

Most of them, the face says.

I squint. Alice?

Most of me, she smiles
and hands down a half-
burned joint.

I look back down,
past the porch, to the beach.

Maybe two dozen people are circled
around a bonfire, while a pair of girls
are tossing in huge logs.

Well, this is nice.

What’s nice? My sister’s friend Alice
whispers. The sun is in my eyes,
and I don’t know why, but I’m sure it’s bad
that she’s talking to me.

Wha?

Alice looks at me
like she’s thinking hard
about something.

She giggles. You wanted me
to find you, didn’t you? Weirdo!

I start to remember
a little. Uh, no, I just—
don’t tell my sister I’m here.

She rolls her eyes.
The leaves are so bright
we might as well be standing
in front of them.

What am I going to do? Jump out of the bushes,
she whispers, so she can find both of us?

I feel like someone just clocked
the back of my head,
but it doesn’t hurt.

I open my eyes: dark again.
A voice from above says, Watch out!
and Alice lands from the window
next to me, opens her eyes big
and holds out her hand.

Who is that on the hi-fi?

Man, you let it go out,
she says. She pulls a few short drags
but the edge of the paper curls orange
and disappears.

Shit, sorry. I think my head’s bobbing on a spring.

Carla Thomas, Alice says.

Who?

The hi-fi.

I like it.

Of course you do. We couldn’t hang out
if you didn’t. Hey, Matt! Do you have fire?

Who’s asking? Matt King rolls
his head over his shoulder.
Oh. Not for King Queer.

Alice grunts and sighs at once.
He’s not asking. I am.

Oh, well, sure then. Just…
He fumbles in his bellbottom pocket.
Just don’t let him into your house
when your mom’s away.

She catches the lighter
in her left hand and looks at me.
Tell!

Tell what?

Shhh! She’s right there!
she snaps, and points through the leaves
at my sister walking toward us, looking
both ways slowly. She walks past us
and a minute later Alice nods.

You’re not very good at hide-and-seek.

I don’t know what to say. I watch the big kids
climb the high dive and cannonball
through the air like it’s nothing.
I—I’m better at other things.

Like what?

Like… making forts.

A few seconds go by.
A dark thing happens
in my stomach.

Finally, Alice clears her throat
and I look over.

My sister’s hand
is on her shoulder
and the two of them are giggling
right at me.

Added: January 3, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015