IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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Debra Kang Dean

At sixteen my mother had been a swimmer. I have seen a picture of her poised at the edge of the pool, knees bent, hands on knees, and smiling with her teammates. My aunt once said back then she swam as gracefully as Esther Williams. But that is not how I remember her. It is when I am sixteen and a runner and am forever wanting to stand against her, back to back, to see who's taller; however much I stretch I still come up an inch short. I've called her up to have her drive me home from practice. We ride home in utter silence after my curt "thanks" and her nod, not for a lack of feeling, but for want of words. Following her in, cleats slung over my shoulder, I tell her to wait, I'll help her. Already she's at the sink, peeling potatoes and humming, one foot lifted like a flamingo.

 
 
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