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Belle Isle 1949

Written by: Philip Levine | Biography
 We stripped in the first warm spring night
and ran down into the Detroit River
to baptize ourselves in the brine
of car parts, dead fish, stolen bicycles,
melted snow.
I remember going under hand in hand with a Polish highschool girl I'd never seen before, and the cries our breath made caught at the same time on the cold, and rising through the layers of darkness into the final moonless atmosphere that was this world, the girl breaking the surface after me and swimming out on the starless waters towards the lights of Jefferson Ave.
and the stacks of the old stove factory unwinking.
Turning at last to see no island at all but a perfect calm dark as far as there was sight, and then a light and another riding low out ahead to bring us home, ore boats maybe, or smokers walking alone.
Back panting to the gray coarse beach we didn't dare fall on, the damp piles of clothes, and dressing side by side in silence to go back where we came from.



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