we eye each other up on the beach,
a stand-off at fifty paces (or
some twenty years): Perk n’ Proud
versus Slightly Saggy.
I fall back, your round.
we catch each other’s eye again
as I stagger bent & small
carrying four towels, three surfboards,
two buckets, & one ball.
your legs stand further apart
like a tripod, surveying the crowd.
we dare to eye each other’s girl.
one wears a bikini, the other
a very practical beach top.
you think you’ve done me again,
but I know I’m in the game.
leaving, we look each other’s way,
as you lower yourself, shirt off,
into the seat of your car
& I wearily climb up into mine.
both proud, a glint of respect.
I think of you once more tonight
after making love, better
than it was twenty years ago.
there’s no pride, no envy,
just maybe the hard firm control
of wisdom growing.
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