They balanced trays by evening
and danced away the nights
and slept away their mornings
still dressed in their nighttime tights.
They’d come to the Keys for adventure,
to discover what Hemingway had,
and found themselves inside stories
some comic, enigmatic, or sad.
“Let’s swim around the island,”
one of the young women said,
“to see which ones among us
are more alive than dead.”
They were drunk enough to be challenged
and easy in their skin.
They tossed their clothes upon the beach
and took a running leap in.
The moonlight on the water,
metallic as tossed coins,
gave brilliance to their daring
and luster to their loins.
For they were young and global,
their nations’ satellites,
convinced that breaching frontiers
was within everybody’s rights.
Before long they stopped their swimming
and a good thing that it was
their ragged strokes had taken them
no farther than their buzz.
They frolicked in the shallows
boys and boys and girls and girls,
alive to the sheer ardor
of tangling the Atlantic’s soft curls.