Linda Delmont lives in Orange County, California with her husband, three cats, a poodle, and two spoiled hens. She works as a substitute teacher and tester for elementary school students, and has an MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach. Her poems have been published in several journals including The Packinghouse Review, Pearl Magazine, Serving House Journal, Moon Tide Press, and Miramar. She dedicates this poem to everyone in Maui affected by the recent fires.
To Scratch a Seven-Year Itch
we took a trip without kids. Dining in Lahaina,
as we passed Snorkel Bobs, I said, “It might be fun to try
something new;” you wanted to drink by the pool.
The next day at noon, we drove to a beach on the best
sites map. After tromping across sand in a salmon
bikini, I penetrated a wave, peered through my mask
at multitudinous colors commingling—the pursed pink
lips of turquoise fish, yellow striped tangs,
voraciously slurped Le Sueur peas from my palm.
In the flyer I’d read Picasso triggerfish
have “the snout of a pig,” butterfly fish mate for life;
a grinning pair glided past, pectoral fins clasped,
as I dodged coral that can infect, expertly sucked
the snorkel so I wouldn’t swallow
salt. But steeped in this world more peaceful
than our own, I forgot Bob’s buddy rule,
didn’t you? I froze as I noticed the distance
between us. How alluring it seemed not to fight
the tide back, then reason hit and I slowly stroked
closer to shore. A decade passes,
our therapist asks the last time we traveled
alone. I can’t recall the hotel where we slept,
the taste of purple poi at the luau. Just the subtle
current seducing, you in Baywatch red trunks,
bobbing unaware as swarms of pretty fish circled
my skin, tails tangled my untied hair.