Swimming, Italian Style

In the Italian coastal town, they pick your swimsuits for you. They don’t ask what you want. They don’t ask your size. They look you over and say, aspetta un attimo. You’re old with puckered skin, you’re 15 and shy, you’re fat as gelato — va bene. You don’t choose. You don’t touch the suits on the rack. No. Instead, they arrive in the dressing room, a slinky pile slung over the tan wrist of a girl who greets everyone with a neon Ciao! No matter who you are, the suits are bikinis: tiny, shiny, wisps of dolce vita that keep no secrets. The dressing room curtain slides shut. You stand nude with the suits and the mirror. Outside, the sun is a hot Mediterranean olive and the water full of boys and yachts.

Your body slides in, pops out, hippy and soft. A sliver of thread rounds a mountainous hip. Green triangles hug your breasts like candies. Between your shoulder blades a gold string meets in a bow. Rumps and bumps reach around your sides, singing hello.

Climb on the boat. The sun wants to kiss you. You’re body is alive.

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