Thirteen by Chella Courington

Thirteen

We hate the tall grass by the river
afraid we’ll step on a cottonmouth.
But water the color of indigo
waits for us the other side of danger.

We shed jeans shirts underwear
mark our place at the edge
hold hands like Ruth and Naomi
wading into the deep.

With each step water moves higher
chills our new breasts.
I throw my arms around Anna Claire
press against her for warmth.

She pushes away
plunges into the dark blue
surfaces arches
plunges again

swims under me
and cradles my back in her palms
lifting me to the air
so I float on her fingertips.

Her hands move gently
touching my shoulder and thigh
as she kisses my lips
uncloses my eyes with her tongue.

We don’t say a word
reach the point of mooring
and venture back
through the tall grass.

by Chella Courington

Editor’s Note: The opening line of this poem commands the reader’s attention, and as the narrative unfolds, the “hate” of that opening takes on multiple meanings.