By Caitlin E. Price
fourteen was puberty pores, fuzzy pits,
oily pimples, and homeroom chimera
lathering loutish limbs in SPF 50
and sunbathing under living room flush lights
playing as if I were poolside tanning
becoming buzzed by Capri Sun sugar.
tongue bubbling in Pop Rocks
I was no longer a closet case creep
no longer the pool pervert
to be feared like a theatrical shark
no longer something deserving the accompaniment of a John Williams’ theme
or even a four-film summer horror franchise
with my eyes closed I felt sun in my childhood apartment
and imagined splashing waters along with the soundtrack of
Now That’s What I Call Music!
imagined the arm’s length distance between me and the other girls
long before social distancing was recommended by the CDC
imagined the word dyke being passed around the pool
like an inflatable rainbow beach ball
imagined boys’ hands down my swim top
as they fought like Gladiators to be the one to turn me.
Eyes opened now and I didn’t need pool water to feel dirty
as I already swam in a school of chlorine and piss.
Caitlin Price is an undergraduate at Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis, receiving a double major in Creative Writing and English Literature. She aspires to write and publish queer literary fiction and young adult novels.