The Readers Advisory committee is pleased to announce that Frank Higgins has won our TIME poetry contest with his poem "The Summer We're All Sixteen". We love way the poem circles back on itself and illustrates both the universality of time and its unique passage for each of us.
Frank Higgins writes plays, and occasionally poetry and haiku.
The summer we’re all sixteen
we buy bathing suits we hide from our mothers.
And in the deck chairs at the town pool
we each let a boy rub baby oil
over our shoulders and backs.
And those boys, who gulp so hard
you can hear their Adam’s apples move?
And whose fingers tremble
when we let them touch us for the first time?
Where are they all now?
Mike: dead in Iraq; Tyler back alive
from Afghanistan, but . . . different.
And some of them are here, by the pool
at the V.A. where they take physical therapy;
and I, who can’t wear a bikini anymore,
now rub baby oil on their backs
cuz even the best prosthetic hands
can’t do baby oil;
and the boys are as polite as at sixteen,
and when I touch them for the first time
they gulp hard, and tremble
but we don’t mention it,
like before when I let them touch me,
and their future seemed laid out in front of them,
smooth and warm like a girl’s back.