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Freedom Fantasy 

I no longer know where I can go
to let the wind tipple at my nipples,
to be uncrazy and free,
unclothed and unrestrained.
In 1972 I stood naked as the day I was born
talking pleasantly with the State Police, who
had remarkably little to say.
But then there were several thousand of us
and only two of them, and the young one
was nervous, didn’t know where
to fasten his jittery eyes.
Hell, he was scared, of buttocks and bellies,
upper arms and ankles thonged,
hair streaming wet down cello-shaped backs
above rumps, so many rumps, and flitches
with dangles and flitches without, thick furry or
nude themselves. Three reporters
from the New York Times tried
to hide in a tree, ashamed of all their clothes.
Only the woman spoke to me;
the men had things to do
that involved much looking down.
Out on the lake a crazy guy
from the suburb across the way circled
his speedboat time and again.
Naked bodies flopping like fish
slithered in and out of the boat,
taking him for a ride.
When I was tired I laid me down
by a fire, just nodding hello.
My sleep was dreamless
—who needed dreams?—
and the stranger tending the fire
stoked it, banked it, fed it for hours,
ensuring that I was kept warm.
When I awakened all that I said
—there was no requirement to speak—
was thanks, and he knew for what:
for the freeness of it all.
  • A poem by Elaine Mills.


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