The Caretaker’s Daughter

I learned about sex on the swings at my Grandfather’s
farm. Pumped, watched the tongues of my polka-dot
Keds, dizzy spinning in Ozark sun dangerously close to
torching my toes every time I went high, ballerina pointing.

The caretaker’s daughter, Faith Jancey, said
well we did it the same summer she let me try her
taffeta dress. I danced on dry grass in fuchsia, sounding
like crispy leaves, imagining tan legs and ninth grade

high heels. She wore coconut suntan lotion and a halter. Only
that morning, taking breakfast scraps to the pigs, I saw her
come out of the house and kiss Kinny good-bye. Barefoot
in the dirt, I fed last night’s corn cobs to ponies whose huge

square teeth grazed my hand. Kinny’s long hair framed his head,
didn’t swing even though the kiss went forever. His face
was like a television set, but I said nothing, not even hi, Faith, just
put my shoes back on when he drove down Glade Chapel Road.

We had sour cream and onion potato chips for breakfast she said,
and I was quiet swinging but powerful on the play-ground
all fall knowing doing it means you can eat potato chips
and drink coke for breakfast like Faith said I couldn’t wait.


First published in New Delta Review