A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
Click on a line to comment

The Curious Way One Thing Leads to Another

Eventually I said, “You know

what we were talking about


     what we learned in the war?”

He said, “Mmm-hmm?”

I said, “I’ve realized—I learned something else.”

He looked at me and cocked his head;

I could hear him, I thought,

even if he lost the power of speech.

Sitting with our arms around our knees,

we could hear the sea lions

     whuffling on Inspiration Point, sometimes the slap of a

     flipper on water.

He nudged me with his elbow.

I said, “I learned to stand alone.”

I could feel him nod beside me. “I can see that.”

     His arm around my shoulders.

I set my hand flat against his chest and

     pressed him

     back in the sand. The sand was hard and cool,

     his chest warm and pliable under my body. I lay there

     across him, and he breathed under me, his hand

     quiet on my back.

“We’d better go,” I said at last.

     “My legs are numb with cold.”

“All right,” he said. “Let’s go.”


We were in the park again

     before we next spoke.

“Why’d you become a nurse?” Cory asked.

I glanced at him

     in the darkness. I was still

carrying my shoes, though the grass

chilled my feet. Beside me I could feel

the heat of Cory’s body, and his hand warmed mine.

Why did I become a nurse? This was

     another question

almost no one asked. Certainly not soldiers,

except perhaps

     for politeness, to show they listened. It seemed obvious,

     in 1945, that girls would want

               to be nurses.

“It was an accident,” I said.

page 65