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How I Won

On the beach in mid-afternoon
the pines threw their thick roots out wide over the sand,
thrusting thin shadows across my bare legs.
Let's make this our house, I said to her,
indicating the high bare roots with my index finger.
That part can be the living room.
I don't see it, she said. Where?
I got up and traced the roots with my hands to outline the house.
There was a perfect tangled chair for sitting,
and in the bedroom was a hollow to curl inside.
Her lips flattened together, stoic: I don't see it.
I offered, Well, how about this is a desert island?
You know. We're the last people standing?

No dice.
She indicated signs of life.
So we spent the afternoon shuffling through sand along the water,
south to the town and north to the rented cabins,
until we found a fish
torn into broad strips by a boat propeller.
It glistened in the sun. It was fresh.
Her brother dared her to touch it,
knowing she would never touch its shining hide
but loving the the way her lip curled at the thought.
Before he could even turn to dare me,
I dropped down on all fours at the fish's tail end,
and wrapping my mouth around its tail,
I jumped up, arms held wide to say Ta-da!
and grinned, peeling my lips back from the dusky green fin.

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