The twins look the same, dress alike, golden curls, glasses, plaid kilts and white blouses. They are like angels on a Christmas tree.
Raymond says that one of the twins likes me. He hands me a note carefully folded like a handkerchief. Kathy wants to know if I like her. Ray tells me what to write back.
I see Kathy at the dance. She and her sister are dancing to “Unchain My Heart.” “Why don’t you ask her to dance?” Raymond asks. “Go on.” I wait for a slow song, another one by Ray Charles, and walk over to where Kathy is talking with friends.
In the middle of the dance floor, I put my hand behind Kathy’s back and hold her hand. My feet hardly move. She rests her head on my shoulder, and her hair smells like vanilla.
Ray wants to know if I have an ID bracelet. I don’t. He says I can get one at the jewelry store next to the theater. “They engrave your name for free,” he says.
End of May. The class trip is to the Bronx Zoo. I sit near the back of the bus, stare out the window, and watch rivers and towns go by. Raymond and Kathy are sitting a few rows ahead. He is whispering something that I can’t hear, and Kathy is fidgeting with the bracelet that is too big for her wrist.
enough wind to rock
an empty swing
lives with his wife, Joan, in Carolina Shores, North Carolina. His haiku collection about rivers, Furrows of Snow, was published by Turtle Light Press in 2019; it received an honorable mention in the 2020 Merit Book Awards. His new collection about waterways, Where the Tide Meets the Stream, was published by Pineola Press in 2020.