about the author

Jessie Carty’s writing has appeared in publications such as Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal and The Houston Literary Review. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks At the A & P Meridiem (Pudding House, 2009) and The Wait of Atom (Folded Word, 2009) as well as a full-length poetry collection, Paper House (Folded Word, 2010). Jessie teaches at RCCC in Concord, NC. She is also the photographer and editor for Referential Magazine. She can be found around the Web, especially at jessiecarty.com, where she blogs about everything from housework to the act of blogging itself.

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Plastic Man

Jessie Carty

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You were giving everyone rides. Well, all the girls. You’d pick us up, high over your head. You were very tall to us. You a teenage boy with broad shoulders, a lucky acne-free face and hairless chest. You reminded me of Plastic Man with how elastically you moved.

Each girl squealed, ready to be tossed again. They formed a long arc across the brown water; only their torsos, heads and arms were visible above the dark river.

My best friend didn’t make a sound as you threw her. She plopped like a stone that wouldn’t skip. You picked me up, holding my bottom in your large left hand. Your right hand, just for a moment, was inside the thin crotch of my bathing suit. You were nineteen. I was nine. My mouth slacked. I grabbed my knees. From a distance, it must have appeared that I was attempting to cannonball.

My best friend and I moved over to swim near the dock even though everyone said that was dangerous because cottonmouths sometimes swam near the piers. I didn’t mention your fingers. My best friend didn’t say anything about fingers or hands. Was I the only one?

We didn’t get back in line. You never looked in our direction.

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