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offering :: jacques j. rancourt

by on May 21, 2017

That night the shore kept our shoes
and we left our boxers hanging from branches,
hid ourselves in the river. It was a test of manhood,
to see how naked we’d become
and not care. Tony, the most beautiful,
was laughing. Through the water
I saw a pale blur and knew what it stood for,
my heart paddling. We slapped each others’ backs,
tossed a football, the moon showing on the river
in fragments. When the girls came
with their breasts and their reluctance
to leave their panties in the tree shrine,
the energy shifted — the water shook.
We brushed against each other, sent beer cans
crumpled downriver. From somewhere
in the crowd, a scream, then bodies fled,
clamoring over the bank. The cause — a deer
who had come to test the shore with its mouth
and was frozen, as I was frozen, to the edge
until it bolted away and I bolted away too.
Into the field I ran with the pack of men
and in the moonlight I saw Tony, all of Tony,
and in his hand the hand of a girl, his mouth
coming down to her neck as they ran. Off they went,
back from where they came, but I had left
my reflection at the shore, the reflection
of the deer there too, my other’s arm
outstretched to the deer and offering it water.

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