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1 poem
by Bethany Clarke

Bethany Clarke is a writer and public school teacher living in Portland, Maine.

Bathing Suits

You told me that your other friend

looked better with her clothes on, 

her boobs were too big to look good

in a bathing suit. It was 7th grade 


and we’d cleaned up

the beach which basically meant

we raked a bunch of pine needles 

into piles for someone else to pick up

later. Rihanna on the radio boombox

and guys claiming they were too hot

so they absolutely HAD to take off their

shirts and girls keeping themselves hidden

until the teachers decided everyone had done enough 

work for the day and could now swim

in the lake. May lake, still cold and tipped with white 


caps. Me and you 

standing at the edge. You

asked me whose butt looked most like

yours and I did my best to judge the sizes 

but it was difficult to get any perspective 

without lining you right up next to every other

girl in our class, so I chose someone’s butt

who I thought you’d like—not too big or too small,

just a butt, the butt of a popular girl, probably 

slightly better than average and full. And then


you said “thanks” and I didn’t ask you anything

about my butt. I was scared to know

what or who I looked like. We waded into 

the water, dove under the lapping waves 

and held our breaths until we had to 

come up for air.

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