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Swimming the Narrows

Lifejackets on the dock until age 13
unless you swam the Leadbetter Narrows
there and back, 40-degree water, strong tides
small heads bobbing, pausing, swimming on and on
imagining sand sharks, nibbling toes

Ten cousins on a summer island
boys vs. girls, competing to win
father in a rowboat in case of cramps
standing as a barricade to speeding boaters
the girls gloating, went without lifejackets first

The boys swam the Narrows the next day.