One Small Step – a poem

Daddy said yes to the pool with that girl
so I finished the sign Watermelons
for Sale with the magic-markered red slice
made a half-moon with buglike LEM on top

then oh my in that frilly bikini
her slim legs churning the bubblegum sheen
of the pool at that ramshackle motel
on I guess my first sorta halfway date.

Back at the store hair damp and heart thumping
we locked the door for an hour not to watch
but to buy eggs sold cheap down a dirt road
in the woods. Was the truck’s radio on?
Pretty sure I knew it was coming up,

but Daddy didn’t seem to care a whit.
It would happen or not was just his way.
Something else the war schooled him over
that he couldn’t unlearn is what I think.

The eggs rattled between us on the seat
while I sniffed the chlorine on my fingers
and in my hair and the dust plumed behind
I’d like to imagine all the way up

to where those clunky boots we later learned
stepped down from a ladder to a sea where
even now on full moon nights it all seems
jumbled up like something I must have dreamed

tanned legs that splatter a pool’s blue water
fat cleats imprinting a virgin beach
in the eggshell gleam of the moon’s reflection
half forgotten, except everything’s changed.

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