Franca Brilliant

That Summer

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 whitish blur.


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.

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