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Poetry By
  Rachel Lim

Published on: 2/19/2010
The Swan

The night air like an apple
remained crisp between them.
She saw her father in the
shadows that lined the sidewalk:
the slumbering shape occupying
the left side of the
king-sized bed, softly indented
against the moonlight.
Giddy, excited, adolescent:
she blew her snoring father a kiss
before leaving the creaky house,
before meeting the boy on the corner
of Seventh and Grady.

If only that luminescent feather
remained between her clenched
thighs: she felt it tickling as
the boy's hands,
soft and pudgy, felt along her
hips and caressed the
pale white stretch marks.

She was not fat
(More firmly: she was not fat)
yet she had grown, erupted
into an awkward girl-woman with
vague breasts and a helpless smile.

So she was not fat. But there
was the boy, and his breath was
scented softly like a
cantaloupe --
he was groping and she heard his
teeth clicking as the zipper slid
into the rhythm-less gyre, matching
the staccato tempo of her heart.

This was the thing about being fourteen:
if you snuck out with the stars, into
a night lined with the
wandering shades of fathers, there
was that risk of a fatal bite
of fruit, the quiet whispering
of a feather. Perhaps in the corridors
of memory, the knowledge might
be enough.

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