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Black Water Creek

Remember how you tried to wash it

from your skin and his —

the red clay spinning down the drain,


its swirls of tainted yellow clinging

as you both bathed later that day

after wading naked in the creek,


he and you, clothes on

the bank, damp and daring.

How seeing the slick


line of his waist, its dashed

newness, white warmth

under so much dirt,


in the sun as you both lay,

determined to see

that which you’d followed


in cloth and denim or the scuffed

rim of a shoe. How you taunted him,

begged him to come


back to your house

where you tracked those

muddy stains, stripped down


to the steamy mirror

where he bolted wet from his pants again

stepped into the rushing stream.


How you didn’t know what

else you wanted, watching

his form, wanting


only to delay his going,

standing as you both were,

unprepared. And then that sad hour


when the sun moved in and behind

the clouds, and the green birch trees

and long, drooping vines hung


where the woods were lanky and white,

the soil-red surface flowing below, his body

forbidden, no way to dive in.

from Circuit by Walter Holland © 2010

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