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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Poetry,   pp. 22-28

Page 26

Between the Sheets 
In those days, everyone's backyard was a maze of laundry lines, 
pillowcases snapping in the breeze, 
pants proud as pennants, 
shirts pinned up like broad-winged birds swooping in the wind. 
And we kids could never resist a basket of clothespins, 
clamping them on our fingers, 
fascinated with the feel-so like toothless, wooden gums- 
wincing with pain but persisting, 
the pressure of the spring like an addiction. 
When our mothers did the bedclothes, the sheets were hung 
in rows, billowing, broad, and white, 
like a snowstorm upon the green June grass. 
Somehow, our games of chase and tag would always end 
among those sheets, 
the breathing corridors mysterious as hallways through cumulus. 
And I remember the day Alice Dupuis was chasing me. 
Every time she stood between the sun and a sheet, 
her silhouette was thrown against the white, moving wall- 
the soft curves of her new and startling breasts, 
the determined point of her chin, her wild tangle of hair.... 
I suppose she was chasing my shadow while I stood 
watching hers. 
And I suppose I did not run as fast as I might, 
and when she grabbed me round the waist, 
I grabbed her round hers. 
We froze there on the grass, 
then shared a single, lingering kiss 
before she pushed me down, wrenched off my sneaker 
and flung it far away into the next yard.... 
That was years ago, and we've long since made our journeys 
through tangled bedroom quests. 
Still, I wonder why we create such mazes in our minds, 
making labyrinths of simple desires and cul-de-sacs 
of natural lusts. 
What's sure is that the soapy, softener-sweet smell 
of today's machine-dried sheets 
is cloying compared to the sun-drenched bedclothes of yesterday... 
and why Alice threw my sneaker so far 
still pinches me like a clothespin. 
by Timothy Walsh 
Timothy Walsh's poetry chapbook, 
Wild Apples, was published by 
Parallel Press last fall. He has won 
numerous awards for his poetry and 
short stories, including the Grand 
Prize in the 2004 Atlanta Review 
International Poetry Competition. 
His short story "The Sweet Smell of 
Gasoline" was the winner of the 
Wisconsin Academy Review! 
Harry W Schwartz Bookshops Short 
Story Contest in 2003, and his short 
story "Along Highway 17" won first 
place in last year's Madison 
Magazine short fiction contest. 
n In Pt rv 

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