“The Summer I Was Sixteen” by Geraldine Connolly
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
The Summer I Was Sixteen
The turquoise pool rose up to meet us, its slide a silver afterthought down which we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles. We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy. Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated, we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete, danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl". Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles, we came to the counter where bees staggered into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses, shared on benches beneath summer shadows. Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears, mouthing the old words, then loosened thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance through the chain link at an improbable world.
from Province of Fire, 1998
Iris Press, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Copyright 1998 by Geraldine Connolly.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Iris Publishing Co. For further permissions information, contact Robert B. Cumming, Iris Press, 1345 Oak Ridge Turnpike, PMB320, Oak Ridge, TN 37830.
About the Poet
Geraldine Connolly (1947- ) is the author of three poetry collections, including Hand of the Wind (Iris Press, 2009). Connolly was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Learn more about Geraldine Connolly at The Poetry Foundation