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The Boys Always Dared Each Other
by Jane Lang

I remember where we used to swim: hot sun, long tongues of
foamy water gently licking dry land's edge, exuberant whoops
of pre-teen boys—arms tightly wrapped 'round bony knees as
they wildly dare each other, jump cannon-ball into teeth-chatter
cold, lazy water with the ease of their youth and years

Squeals, laughter, metal pails, shiny pebbles, children—a few on

a search for those rare glass balls washed up on shore, said to
come from Japan; a narrow path, embedded rocks, us on a
scramble, trailing fray-edged towels, kicked-up dust, no picnic
tables—sack lunches, shoes left up the hill in jumbled disarray

Remains of peanut butter sandwiches, eyed by gulls circling
overhead; our wait the obligatory hour after eating to avoid cramps
or drowning, then, jubilant return to splash once more, boldly hold
our breath, bob in/out of clear, crisp cold water until we hear the honk
of mom's horn, too soon, yet we're exhausted, come to take us home


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