It is 1974 and out the institutional open windows of the college dorm, nylon bikinis in floral prints are plummeting like the cheap bodies of birds. And then your mother's large white briefs like a mainsail, like a flag of surrender, begin a slow dancing down current, cinematic, lithe. All of the faces are turning up, hushed, like those holding a hoop to save a child burning. It is the opposite of being lifted into the sky the way I imagined my grandfather ascending after the long pain of illness: this large pair of underpants falling forever on the startled face of an undergraduate boy.
For Paula Snow
From Why the Ships Are She by Terri Ford. Copyright © 2001 by Terri Ford. Reprinted by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.