The boy and girl approach me

eastbound on the Great River Road walk

the boy clad in shorts only

perfect, thin muscular body

the girl in black sports bra and spandex shorts

perfect, thin muscular body

her girl parts showing nicely.


And I think of when I was young

and I think of my girl, sweet Eden

only there was no spandex no sports bras

and Eden and I didn’t walk, run, saunter, sashay

but we danced because Eden liked to dance;

mostly we lay on a blanket in a arc-shaped glade

in Pere Marquette State Park

and I played her rib bones with pianist’s fingers

it was tickling not sex it was sex not tickling.


The boy says hello

I say hello;

the girl neither looks nor says a word . . .



I see a forested island south across the Mississippi channel

a few leaning summer shacks east-bowed by the flood;

five snowy egrets and a blue heron stand in a row

beaks stabbing at intervals into the lapping murky water

white and blue heads on feathered fulcrums

long beaks spear fishing for silver minnows

and I think of piano keys:

C-D-E-F-F# (the blue heron the ‘black’ key)-G major;

in those notes are Leonard Bernstein’s Maria

but the piano keys (birds’ bobbing bodies) do not play Maria

instead: C-F#-G-D-E-F-F# (a blues)

and the words are a blues:

‘The girl didn’t see the old man.’


And I think of that blanket and summer, 1967,

of Eden’s finely etched ribs and breastbone

her girl parts showing nicely, palpitating

her throat emitting a kitten’s cry

her breaths staccato

and she, Catholic that she was, insisted we pray

pet and pray pet and pray;

the forest and the Illinois River and the bluebirds

and flower perfume and smell of skin

and irises’ sensual hues and goldfinch songs

and blue hairstreak butterflies alighting and sipping

from Eden’s lavender-scented sweaty skin from my sweaty skin.


Walking back I see only four egrets and the heron left:

F#-D-E-F-G-F (the C note having flown)

and the words are:

‘Didn’t see the old man’

‘Didn’t see the old man’

‘Didn’t see the old (another egret flies)’

‘Didn’t see the (yet another egret flies)’

‘Didn’t see (the last egret takes flight)’

‘Didn’t (F-G, the blue note solo echoes

on the soundboard of the river).’




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