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Remembering Mike

                                    Corinna McClanahan Schroeder


He is freckled apple fruit. She is lanky-limbed,
chokeberry skinned. They are running crisscrosses
on the volleyball court like only children run—
effortlessly, near flight. Her braids bounce
snake shadows in the slant-light, his hair a burn
in April’s dusk. They spiral like pennies
in a donation-box, and dammit if the sun
slides under this. But then they are down

hard, his hands around her body, bodies
writhing in the sand, and I want to scream,
“Get your hands off her,” but they are maybe
ten years old, and this is not like
seventeen-year-old Mike who said he only wanted
to take a nap with me—sixteen, old enough
to know. This one only wants to wrench the ball
from her fingers’ hook, but my watch’s hands
have stopped. She’s under him, he’s over her.
Maybe she considers his weight, likes its feel—

when the watch’s gears restart. She bucks him
because he’s a boy and she wants none of it.
None of him. They’re back to play,
the sand recording every shutter-step they take.


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