After Swimming, circa 1979
by Caroline Johnson

After diving, shouting, flirting, and splashing,
we covered up our young tans and pushed
through the turnstile, leaving the public
pool behind.

Breathless, we filled up at Jimmy's on
penny candy—gumballs, Smartees, Tootsie
Rolls, MaryJanes, and caramels—then
headed out the screen door, a towel slung
around our neck, a damp suit sticking
to our brown bodies.

The older kids stood around and smoked.
Sometimes, a freight train rolled by on
our walk home.

We lumbered through town—past Harris bank,
Hartley's Bike shop, the barber, 31 Flavors,
past Burton's grocer, Soukup's Hardware,
Fosters' Toy Store, until we reached the
brick-lined street we called home.

No cell phones, Internet or lap tops
distracted us. Just the buzzing of hungry
wasps and the flavor of summer's surprise.

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