Alabama – 4 (of 10)

(Part 4)

It’s summer on the lake —
My friends are laughing down the way;
I am beneath a tree,
And full of reading.

The splashes off the dock
Intrude a little in my thoughts,
My smiling thoughts,
As into space I go, though intermittent.

I sip some water, then
Put down my bottle, doff my shirt,
And run to join them,
Shoving my friend Andy
Off the dock, into the lake,
But he grabs me, as well,
And we both tumble.

There is a smell of hot dogs grilling,
Grilling in the shade,
Our counselors, or so they’re called,
A few kids in kayaks, canoes,
And bright sun driving us to be
Either within the shade or in the lake —

I dry off with a towel,
And chat with Sandy, sitting with her sister,
Both red as flame, and freckled,
Just like I am,
As we walk back into the shade,
I ask her if
She’d like to sit together
At the movie —

Her voice gets shy, and she says, “sure,”
And we then go
In opposite directions
Towards her sister
Towards Andy
(Me, the latter)

He’s drying off, and says,
“Well, did you ask her?”

I nod, and he so he punches me
Up on the shoulder, like boys do,
Although I spill a little water,
Which I then fling at him.
No harm is done.

The shadows stretch into the evening:
Cinder-block showers taken, soapy,
Steam that never leaves the cabin,
Flies that join us as we’re walking,
Wearing after shave, although we don’t —

A wooden chapel, wooden seats,
A movie screen stood up in front,
A few old fans to keep us cooler,
When she comes in, her red hair
A torch to my young eyes —

No hands are held, few words are said,
But smiles fleeting are exchanged,
The movie is an awful one
But yet we like it, or
We like the feeling

I walk her halfway down the path,
The leave her to her sister, friends,
And wander back the other way
To join my own friends, planning out some venture

And later, sleep is
  distant voices,
  bright red hair, and
  outer space,

  sweating underneath a fan,

  and all that is a summer

  on the lake

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