Fuck

 

 

In the fifth grade, we clustered around

the dictionary, trying to find

 

the word. Electricity nearly ignited

the air but Miss Walker snatched

 

the book away and made us lay our heads

on our desks for the rest of the afternoon.

 

Yesterday, on the radio, I heard

two astrophysicists argue

 

about whether time ever moved backward.

I could tell them, if they asked me.

 

I could tell them about skinny-dipping

in the Atlantic, where the unsteady

 

moon casts geometric light as I run

toward the jetty with a boy

 

whose muscular teenage body

I can still put my hand out and touch.

 

Or decades later, when a final, forceful

push becomes a scream

 

and my first child slides from me.

It all goes back to fuck,

 

the story of lives lived without direction,

a face pressed into a book, a forbidden

 

word, an over-zealous teacher who should

have forgiven us, should have let us lift

 

our heads from those wooden desks

back when an afternoon seemed

 

to last forever, and forever never

existed at all.

 

 

                                                       Robin Greene