Lost Hands

[after David Mason’s The Lost House, which you can read here]

A girl I hardly knew went with me by the creek,
entering the water behind some trees that grew there
with rolled pants and bare feet. It was not yet dark,
we stood together on the river’s floor.

The sly way I contrived it, my right hand
slipped invigoratingly beneath her blue jeans
in new maneuvers, further than I’d ever dared to plan.
I swear we floated in the ankle-deep stream.

My knees shook, though I was not afraid.
We finally stopped and shook the water off.
Fifteen that summer, we touched and played.
Now, if I saw her in a photograph,

I couldn’t tell you how that young girl looked
that summer night as all our inhibitions thundered down–
like a drunken freight train, burning until cooked,
we stood hot and buried our toes in silky ground.

[I didn’t really like Mason’s poem, mostly because of the implication that what they’d done was almost wrong. At the same time his images invoked this memory from when I was 15 or so myself. UPDATE: I changed some of the wording in my second line. It’s better this way.]