Elizabeth Bradfield: First Love

Today, adjusting my jacket
in strong wind, I look down
to the hem, remember the neat
way she’d pull up the bottom
zipper—quick, decisive—to open
a gap for her hips.  Who are we,

those many years ago,
to our current selves?  Twice
a decade, we meet for tea, polite
about the others we’ve gone on
to love.  Her small hands.  How

they seemed capable of almost
anything: thumb nudging a throttle
just enough to come alongside
a dock;  what we did below
decks and in the gear locker,

the smell of burned
nylon from the line cutter, that
thin, heated blade that separated
strands and cauterized them
so they wouldn’t fray, all
around us, everything
I wanted to be, awakening.

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