Back in Texas, August, I’d lie on the lawn
topless. The neighbors didn’t know me
from Adam. Nor the landlord, nor the old man
stealing peaches, stuffing them into a brown paper bag
and sneaking off down the street like I wasn’t there.
On my orange blanket on the dead grass, radio pulling in
Haggard and Nelson, I lay flat as any boy
on the banks of Barton Springs—skinny legs,
tan torso, a light down across the upper lip.
The trim musculature of young men
who don’t realize they’re still boys. Or me,
languishing in the space between, raising my
head equally high for a “sir” or a “ma’am”
or the silent, open-mouthed uncertainty that came
from a woman walking her two children home from daycare—
a boy and a girl tugged along in a blue plastic wagon.
They waved and I waved back, rolled
onto my chest and wiped my brow against the towel, rolled
back over again. They looked from me, to their mother,
and I saw her fumble for the answer.
But they found their own accord:
“Doesn’t matter,” said the boy. The girl nodded.
KL Parr is a writer and educator, and has taught at the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars in Baltimore, St. Edward’s University in Austin, and elsewhere.