I could have tried to find a local boy to experiment
with, to figure out how to touch and be touched.
Babysitting two little girls out on the far end of Long
Island, living with a family from the Midwest, what did I have to lose?
Tolerant and kind, the parents urged me to go out each
Saturday. But I had no idea how to connect with strange teens
or figure out where they were hiding.
Instead I wore my peekaboo camisole (nude bra underneath)
and light green eyeshadow and hung around the rented beach house,
even on my days off.
I remember very little of those six weeks aside from the
day I took a long bike ride. Ten miles each way and a ferry ride to
a little island I found on a map.
Early morning I set off, pumping hard to get up the
endless small hills, surprised by how much sweat there was in me.
By the time I got to the ferry, my loneliness had evaporated, dispersed by sun and sea breezes.
The island felt like paradise, all sand and pitch pines
and no one in sight. Each turn in the road another beckoning cove, green water
lapping at pale shores. I succumbed to one, leaned my bike against a tree, and
went down to the water.
The freedom, the heat, the isolation, the why not—I took
off all my clothes and walked slowly into the bay till my feet were just a
And when I came out, droplets clinging to my arms and
legs, my belly and breasts, I glistened, just as Eve might have the first time
she bathed in the Gihon, when she was still in the Garden.
BIO: I came back to poetry about ten years ago and although sitting down to write is never not scary, when the words flow it feels like nothing else matters. I've never published anything, but maybe this will be the moment. I’m not Italian but my name is—think Franca rhyming with Bianca.