I wished I looked good with my shirt off. Like a young boy in cut-offs you chase through the weeds that thatch themselves alongside the river. The weeds are waist high, but you are young so, in real life, they are not as tall but to you, now, while you are young, they seem overgrown and old like you are the first on this path even though you’ve waded it many, many times.

Their light wisp brushes the tan of both your skins, remembering.

The young boy had yelled, “Beat you there!” and took off running but it sounded more like “BEATCHUTHERE!” cuz he said it fast and turned and ran really fast so he could win. He knows you’re slow cuz you’re a girl and you are the younger sister of your older brother that he came to see but settled on you because you were there and familiar and he—you can tell—is lonely and you don’t know this yet but he can smell the woman growing inside you that’s trying to make its way out and he is a moth like that.

Both of you are running to the tire swing.

He will beat you and you will watch his victory leap onto the tire. His savage yell and shaming laugh making zig-zag patterns as the tire veers fast over the water. He has his shirt off, as mentioned before, and after he frees the tire, and after he climbs trailing wet up the bank, denim now dark, you will notice his chest in a different way. The way is that you think about how it would feel to be the water laying on it. That is the woman inside you peeking her head. And you will remember this boy and this moment long after the woman is outside of you. And this is why, to you, men will always smell like a river.





© xTx