Under the Trestle

As kids, we tread against the tide in the Sheepscot River,
A persuasive current, funneled and slowed, cold spots
To make us shiver, kick harder, beneath the trestle bridge
Of the ol’ Downeaster railroad, where young swimmers
Like me were not supposed to go but the urge to stop
Paddling and let the undertow, take us in tow,
Irresistible, like bait to boys with fishing poles
Braver, leaping off rope swings, off ledges
At the secret swimming holes.

I was the only girl–or child–to be towed
Beneath the trestle, as if beckoned, I allowed
That blue argument of warm and cold clash
Incoming and outgoing current, ebb and flow
It suctioned and snagged ankles and torso
Rockweed whipped by like tumbleweed
Cartoon-like, or an old movie reel I’d seen
Flipping at the end, spitting “oh hang it”
Engulfed and spat out the other side
The open harbor, floating in a briny
Stew, tickled by eel grass, I’d
Resist putting my foot down
Into that muddy bed, a vast
Sheath of known daggers:
Razor-clams, mussel shells,
Long-necked clams and
Sharp-necked beer bottles,
Worse than shark-bite fears,
Shards of broken glass—
Their deep cuts stung.

And then, you were sorry.