Before high school
locker rooms and greasy evenings
poring over the mirror
there is the bathroom
at Morses Pond.
The florescent lights struggle
through their enclosures.
The walls line themselves with the sand kicked up
when the thick men,
shoulders so burnt
they seem somehow heavier,
fumble their way into the urinals.
I wish I could have been old enough
to find women attractive
so I could have appreciated what suburban
living does to the body. Creeps over
and inside it
an algae that fills the thighs
and fattens the upper arms
until no bathing suit’s elastic
will flatter us.
Twelve years later in Cambridge
the college girls usher their shirts off
on the banks of the Charles,
all skin and flash.
It’s little wonder “the older kids”
or the teenager dragged
there to baby-sit his brother.
Once you get old enough
to realize what’s missing
and what replaces it
your parents suddenly look so lost
on the banks of middle age, the water
and closer to all of you.