Journal » Trout 16 » Teen Cusp: 2 [David Howard]
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Teen Cusp: 2

David Howard


On the beach bleached sheep bones let me know
how far you can go. Above, gripping

The macrocarpa that Grandpa planted, Billy
waves: his arms are made of charcoal

and the wind blows until his face is red
and my cheeks burn he looks so cool –

I hope God won't notice.


                         Billy is barefoot and careful
shells don't cut his toes. With my stick I scratch

a hopscotch patch. he beats me because
I'm giddy around him. My dress flicks out, leaving me

off balance. And I fall
but he refuses to play catch. But is hard to land on;

It sounds like an outboard against the tide's quiet.


Already walked in all the puddles – no sense
going there again. When he said

he would he should have. I waited
in the bull paddock, with the pukeko

until the school bell. I pulled up my socks and ran
back. Billy lent me his dictionary, where

I found penis testicles and incomprehension.


We finished the tomatoes, carefully not to spill
pips over our uniforms. How could we count them?

Billy tried to catch my breath – too far ahead.
Then we saw it, an unseasonal plum;

cut bruises from the fruit, bit
hard knowing most love stories are short.


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