By Ann McGriffin
Each unmistakable odor unique to us all…
what we ate for dinner the night before,
garden onions, freshly butchered beef, strong sweet tea,
an absent morning shower,
it all oozes from our pores.
Whispering our private novel
it mingles together beside the Linton pool.
Happy to escape from Mother’s gaze.
Dirty words create an imagined world
of grown-ups with cigarettes dangling,
and dark, lukewarm instant coffee
cooled from extended telephone talks.
Eyes scanning Photoplay magazine
half dressed in a flesh-colored slip at noon.
We roll laughing on the wet cement
oblivious to the pain it will create later.
Painting our toenails with Yardley,
sipping dime cherry cokes from waxy cups
a thimble full of sloe gin added on the sly.
All while planning our alluring costumes
for the night’s dance at The Canteen.
It’s a fleeting mental diversion
away from the unknown consequences.
Who will be whipped tonight
for being late or showing too much skin?
Who will be grounded too long
for just being a young woman,
or asking the wrong question?
For now, none of us want to think
because we already know.
The chlorine smell wipes it all away.
Sterilizes the reality of disillusioned parents
who envy the fleeting joy
of three best friends’ sweaty summer bodies
by the shimmering pool in 1966.