• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 10
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First Sail

Fifteen and never been kissed,
what did I know of blonde boys
from the ritzy side of town, boys
whose families belonged to the
Tennis and Country Clubs, boys
who already had their own cars?

I’d met him in the young people’s
group at church, then gone to a party
where he asked me out to sail on
his family’s boat. Excited, I said yes,
and the next day risked my first sail
in the Bay, giddy with adventure.

I remember the salt wind, the sun
flashing on his golden hair, the muscles
flexing in his arms as he managed
the boat. I dared not let on that it was
my first time as he yelled for me to shift
left, shift right, both of us ducking under.

It all happened so fast, that throwing
our bodies back and forth on the waves
of a summer day, the sail barely missing
us as it swung. I didn’t fall overboard, but
feared I would, trembling and breathless
in the shimmer of those bounding moments.


First Sail

But that was it—no more dates with him,
no more sailing on the Bay or over the
ocean blue. Perhaps I was too young, or not
from the right school, not flashy enough,
though I had worn my white shorts and striped
shirt, my long hair loose on my shoulders.

I never sailed again, though I have lived near bay
and sea. That boy must be an old man now, both
of us having tacked across the vagaries of years
and tides. Even his name escapes my net, but on
this summer afternoon, I stand before the mirror
licking the crust of salt from my dry lips