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After dinner all the families went out to play,
even the mothers, who couldn't stop laughing,
which made them ridiculously easy to catch.

But if you got mad they were ruining the game, you were a baby—
there was just more laughter.

The night was pleasant. Because of the adults there was the feeling
of something happening, or about to—

innuendo was a word I had picked up,

it had to do with the way the husbands looked
at their wives for the benefit of the other husbands.

Often there would be some kissing which would start as a joke
and then get serious—suddenly it would be bad
to get caught looking—
and then just as quickly it was a joke again, an even better joke.

I thought I would die from envy—

instead, like a firefly, I was obliterated

I would concern myself with the game, the cool grass,
but then I'd see a man and a woman:

his face coming down
on hers, hers lifted up to him as if he were the moon.

Some nights there were fireworks. Everybody loved
them; they lit everything up.

I didn't want to sneak off with a boy. I didn't want
to be taken into anyone's bed.

I wanted to be like that light—
the scene exactly as it was, unchanged,
except I would be everywhere,
I would be all over everything.

Emily Hoffman

The Threepenny Review

Summer 2014

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