To be


The first time I ever slunk up onto the dock without a swimsuit, I wore bravado to cover up: “I don’t care if anyone comes; I’m a middle-aged woman for goodness sake.”

Moments later I chaffed my bare skin by rolling across the rough wood slats after hearing the click of a car door.
(No one came.)

This time… is different.

Yes, I am still middled-aged.
Yes, I am still in the nude in the middle of a lake at mid-day.

But the dock is so warm,
and the water so crisp,
and the last rays of summer sun so delicious.

I roll this time too,
but I take it slow–

Turning across the floating dock from front
to back, and back to front, and front to back
So that one side of my body is warmed by wood
and the other by sun

I roll like this for a good, long time,
anxious that someone will come,
but too delighted to let the luxury of skin and water and sky and sun…

For a moment I question whether my nudity is an invitation
to assault.

I hear the vulnerability
of women
whisper to me
through the ages

And so, I remain still.

Claiming our space.

When every last drop of moisture has been kissed by sunlight
I turn onto my belly once more,
Lifting my head to look out into this world…

Yes, I am exposing breasts,
but there is also this–

A reflection
in the water

A silhouette of my
surrounded by
rays of light,
streaming in from all sides.

No matter who comes now,
I know that I’m right where
I’m meant
to be.

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