by Erin Redfern
That summer we worked and waited
for our lives to open
like velvet curtains, a throttle,
or a blouse.
Nights we’d put girls and campfires
to bed, race down dark paths to the lake.
between pines. Pattern
of roots underfoot. Shed clothes
on the sand. We’d run the dunes,
leaping salamanders asleep at the water’s edge,
to the black middle, spin until stars reeled,
trailing milky arms through the spilled
skin of that water,
pondweed kicked from our ankles.
Then the mid-August afternoon
we saw Jelly Bean,
Head Counselor in Buccaneers,
walking toward the Lodge, naked
and strumming those hymns.
would strip a girl so clean of sin
that a worn guitar strap
chafed her pale belly red?
Sun-struck hair, eyes
upturned, whole bared body
What was her real name? We never asked
where she went
or was taken, why, after that,
she just disappeared.
Erin Redfern’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in the New Ohio Review, Fire & Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager Books), and New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust (New Voices Project). Her chapbook is Spellbreaking and Other Life Skills (Blue Lyra Press Delphi Series). www.erinredfern.net