MIDDLE SCHOOL MEDUSA

Like some shimmering bronze goddess
she slips through the air-conditioned lobby
of The Sherwood Forest Country Club,

dripping wet in a yellow string bikini,
past the black marble fountain and the plink
of pennies, past bamboo baskets

of ferns, the gaping red mouths
of poinsettias, past the pink light
of pinball machines

where Puerto Rican men breathe
from their cigars, their slurred voices
rising like smoke--

through the swinging glass doors
that lead her outside,
into the sweaty crowded air,

where she drifts like gossip,
white ribbons swimming
in the brown waves of her hair--

past the crinkle of candy wrappers
and the hiss of soda cans, the boys
in blue speedos who stare at her

from the snackbar, their faces blank
as stone, past the swollen sun-streaked
stomachs floating across the pool,

the gaggle of girls who gawk at her
from their inner tubes,
who imagine themselves squeezing

into her tight yellow bikini,
their own smooth, tanned legs
propped atop the lifeguard's boombox,

their own shiny manicured fingers
snapping to a new, hip song
that none of us knows.