The Tower

We were up in the high broken fire tower

a group of teenagers with the adults

more than a hundred feet below us.

We were staring at the mountains around us

blue, as though the sky rested upon their bodies

when a girl shouted

“It’s hot…let’s strip!”


And as soon as her fingers

began groping at her sweaty tee-shirt

dirty from the day’s hike

everyone else mimicked her—

guys, girls,

it didn’t matter what sex they were

the exclamation was like

a demand that they couldn’t refuse.


The wind through the shattered wide windows

tugged at our shirts

and pushed my wild red hair into my eyes

until I blinked and fought it away

with my hands

the only hands that were not

struggling to get my shirt over my head,

to pull off my pants

unlatch my braw

and fling it like a lasso

over my head until it sailed free

and flew for a second

white and colored cups catching the wind

like sails.


The guys were the first to

get out of their clothes.

Most stood merely in their boxers

and didn’t strip any further

but others, the bolder ones

began to pull off these as well

at ease

like all they were doing

was getting changed in the privacy

of their own rooms.


I looked away then

and glanced out of one of the wide

shattered windows

and watched some of the clothes falling

the shirts already on the ground

far below,

like so many bodies.

The bras still fluttered their way down


so that it was almost beautiful

the way they fell,

was almost graceful.


I did not look back then

as the giggles turned into


and I could hear feet scuffling

on the hard steel of the ground.

They were all being brave.

They were dancing off-beat

taking chances

and doing something they would

never have done

except in this high, broken tower

so far away in the mountains.


But I would not dance with them.

My shoes crackled on broken glass

as I descended down the rusty ladder

then the steel stairs.

The tower shook beneath all

their feet pounding,

as I made my decent from that high

windy  place.


The tower was broken

but still high and strange to me.

By the time I reached the grass at the ground

golden green grass that

was trying to be fire

in the bold afternoon light,

the last bras had already fluttered

to the ground at my feet—

thirteen fallen white birds

mocking the one hidden beneath

my plain, dirty t-shirt

the only one that didn’t let go

and dare to take

the long dancing flight.


They mocked me.

I sighed

and left them there.

The End

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