April 23, 2003


Summers, About 1959
- by Alberto Rios

Women wore those sleeveless blouses
Where, if you tried, you could peek in
And try to get a look.

But it was always the wrong angle.
Contact lenses got invented in those years, too.
I remember the first boy who got some:

He had big white lines
From his nose to his ears
As if he were wearing invisible glasses.

That's how someone explained them to me
And I believed it: invisible glasses.
But they were really just the tan lines

From so many years of big, standard-issue
Black frames, glasses a little like
Plymouths for the face.

This was when summers were all the X-15,
Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente,
TV dinners and the drive-in.

Summers had a smell then. When you inhaled
You got the sound of crickets and cicadas
As well in your nose, and Sputnik too-

A word that rolled around in our mouths
Then spat itself out. Sputnik. We said it
All the time. Things were changing.


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