The Raft

We all get to be on the raft.

My brother and I swum up with strong brown arms I hoist up and spin and there

am sitting on the raft and him too we swish our legs in the water and duck

shy cause everyone else is a grown up and they  smile and wave at us and it’s OK,

at first I sit real still anyway, just cause all those people know

each other’s names and laugh like bells I am quiet as the sun but smiling

a strand of hair blown into the corner of my mouth and then

the adults begin to sway back and forth on the raft, tipping

the ends towards the water and laughing and hold hands and

tip it again on the other side. Hand take mine and my brother’s too and we careful

stand and some people tip the left side of the raft and some people tip the right side

so that the ends begin to plunge right into the water.

Water sloshes up over the boards and on the ends, they can’t see their own feet from it.

The first people that fall into the water laugh the loudest

lightful of it, but I inch towards the middle of the raft as more space opens

up and as I move to steady myself my friends bend their legs

a little more and stop holding hands, they hold

their own weight now each one balancing herself or himself by scooping the air

in small circles beside them with their hands, or clap each other’s backs

awkwardly, suddenly, off balance, and then

they fall in too. Laughing. I slide away from the middle to one of the ends

without trying to, the boards are still hot from the sun but wet too,

the perfect surface to glide on, and then, then, I don’t fall,

I don’t jump, the raft goes up, dips down, the water meets me,

I’m in it, and I’m swimming.  


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