Pool Party

by Heather Anna Keeler

An overcast day wasn't right for swimming;
Prepubescent bodies splashed in time
With the lightning in the sky,
Singing along to Kelly Clarkson's newest hit.
We scrape our mouths with burnt hotdogs and dollar store chips
Until our tummies bulged like full water balloons.

The mothers sat on the porch in t-shirts
Or swimsuits from TJ Maxx,
Boasting about their fake designer sunglasses.
Even though they should have made us go inside
The weight of the clouds wasn't visible through their
Muted eyes and idle gossip.

The popular girls sat near the jacuzzi with their
Knees pressed to their chests
While the rest of us waddled in the deep end,
Fighting over the toys and whose Coke can was whose.
"Why don't you girls play together?" someone's mom called,
Oblivious to the dirty looks the we were given.

Chlorine stuck to our neck and arm hair
And cascaded down our backs,
The booming sheets of light soft
In comparison to the splashes of hands
And sizzling of food, and the tap-tap-tap
Of drops on the black mesh screen.

We didn't have to get out,
But it was after three and we were an assortment:
Bored. Hungry. Tired. Wet.

We scampered back toward the porch,
Feet racing and
Towels wrapping and
Bottoms settling into scratchy lawn chairs.

The mothers notice us for the first time today,
Telling us to dry our hair off before going in the house
And to keep the music down, 'someone's dad is asleep.'
We, instead, stay outside,
And wait for the rain to stop,
Curling pink fingernails into Sam's Club hotdog buns.
Squirting ketchup onto the blank spaces on our plates,
The pretty girls crouch over one table, the rest of us sit at the other.
The only words we toss each other are harsh and loud;
"We want to listen to Evanescence."
"No, we're leaving the radio on."

We arched our wet bodies into the silence
That grew into the screened in square we sat in,
Staring at the sky that we were willing to be cyan Like it should have been this afternoon
Before it started to rain.

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