Pickle Juice

The smell of pickle juice reminds me of July,

summer camp, Apaches and Comanches,

a swimming pool diving competition, college girls

in one-piece bathing suits called camp counselors,

receiving my activity schedule heavy on horses, water,

and weapons, like trail riding, archery, skeet shooting,

canoeing, bobber fishing, water basketball,

mom and dad’s suburban peeling out of a dirt parking lot,

over-excited greeters, a campfire story about a blind

bandit who hid his gold and followed the Colorado River

back to civilization, raiding the chow hall for cookies at midnight,

barfing after eating too many cookies, receiving

a single letter from home when some of the nancies

got two or three per day and cried about being homesick,

Lee, Jake, Brian, Brady, Jad, Rustin, Matt, Clay,

a counselor sitting down with me at night and asking a long

list of questions like was I enjoying my time and had I

taken a dump, my brother Matt being named Comanche Chief,

the amphitheatre where the band played Christian songs,

pizza day, the bobber pulled underwater by a great catfish,

some guy whose job was to squirt pickle juice

into the ears of everyone who exited the swimming pool.