Red Bikini

Once I wore a red bikini

It was our honeymoon,
no one could see me,
no one we knew. We
spent days swimming
in turquoise, napping
in hammocks. I crossed
my legs. My hair was
curly. I was tan, you
were burned.
My thyroid had not
yet eaten my unibrow.
I leaned toward the
camera. Of course,
I thought I was fat
despite the neat crease
at my belly button,
acute angles arranged
to fit inside the frame.

I was happy,
the stroke had not yet
broken my smile.
Earlier, a man
in dreadlocks had
paddled in on a surf
board, right up to
the hotel’s buoyed
line, to sell us shells
and a starfish to
place on the mantle,
so that after your
pink skin turned to tan,
and years later when
I smelled burnt toast
all the time, every
thing tasting like iron,
we would remember:
once I wore a red bikini.

***

Tiff Holland’s poetry and prose appear regularly in journals and anthologies. Her novella-in-flash “Betty Superman” appears in the Rose Metal Press anthology “My Very End of the Universe.” Her work has recently appeared in FRiGG and the Norton Anthology of Short-short fiction.

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