Spring 2010: Issue 87

Julie Funderburk

Let’s say you’re visiting an old friend at a beach.

It’s October, and excluding the standard update,


your friend knows nothing about your life

(this is your vacation). Let’s say beachcombers,


wearing light jackets and shorts, are watching you:

wading at first, you let the cold


water splash, holding your skirt

higher. At the next wave, you duck under.


Visible now: the bra beneath your shirt.

You are the picture of willingness to brave


change, the temperature that shocks. Another wave

hits. You are inside, where drowning is possible,


the gray sea crashing around you,

fish you can’t see brushing your legs


(nobody’s the wiser). From the shore,

you hear your friend’s daughters


shouting your name like the name of a new crush.

Everybody likes the person who just heads in.


Let’s say they’re cheering as you exit the surf

still too far away for them to see


you shivering in the wind-chilled weight of your clothes.