On a borrowed bicycle, I ride past
the new automated parking machine
(so much is changing) down the sandy road
to the mouth of the River, leading to the Falls.
Daddy–long–legs skate over the water.
My feet stand yellow in the stream, blurry,
pointing to the edges, to clumped grass,
stagnant pools, white rocks with moon craters
where my sister and I crouch on weekends,
smoking in the dark, faces lit by matches
and the white teeth of new boyfriends, the damp,
mossy stink mixed with warm cologne.
Down the ridges, there’s a lost whirlpool
from the weaker current, the slowly sinking levels.
If I venture past this point, move into the flow
and slip, the ride is no longer like a waterslide,
but instead a plummet: rolling, scraped
by errant pebbles, like de–skinned knuckles,
my joints and bones peeled to show as
I crash into pockets of wet stones.
But a local has shown the city kids one
still–gushing ledge and the spot from which to jump,
to plunge into that last secret hole, that sweet
hollow pit filled with bubbles and darkness.
Boys clamber to the edge with moist, slapping steps,
shirtless with tiny pecs; their long white torsos glisten,
airborne, then splash and slide through,
barely visible in the black, sucking water.