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wild enough


There were stories
            about girls wild enough,
                        one in particular, Dulsie
                                    in her pale green halter, the faint
                                    shadows around her nipples, the way (we all noticed)
                                    they changed in the school air conditioning,

the school yard cigarette
            between her lips.
                        Those lips
                                    could do anything: the scornful
                                    smile, the sneer, the break
                                    into warmth no one ever expected.

She could
            start screaming
                        and still hold a cigarette
                                    in the corner of her mouth. When she
                                    breathed it in, her eyelids
                                    drooped, and she looked to the side, as if

she whom we thought
            so known, so physical,
                        so summed
                                    in the calf muscles flexing, the wonderful
                                    body stretching from the arched
                                    foot through the fingers, all of her was lost

the moment
            she tasted
                        the cigarette,
                                    and we didn’t know her.
                                    Girls like her, wild enough
                                    to sleep alone on the beach,

not once for kicks,
            but again and again.
                        The seals
                                    can spot a girl like that, can see
                                    the light her body throws off, and everything
                                    we miss about her body.

There were stories
            of how she woke
                        in the dark
                                    and the sound of lapping waves. The tide
                                    crept almost to her feet but didn’t
                                    touch her, and the body

six inches from hers
            wept its heat.
                        It was the one
                                    she needed, the sand
                                    giving under her shoulders, right there.

                                    Later, she woke again, tide long out.

The body that
            had what?
                        Loved her?
                                    was gone. In the shallows
                                    paddled a harbor seal,
                                    watching her the way they watch us.