I kissed the cook as he sliced and diced
in the camp kitchen. He's twenty-one,

and knows how to work his tongue.
I've been felt up twice by Methodist counselors.

We horde make-up,  wear raccoon eyes.
One night, we escaped to the other side

of Parson's Lake to meet the townies
and drove through dried fields, headlights off.

I stood in their convertible, no seat belt
while they steered and held my legs.

Scratched by low-hanging branches,
we mounted our canoes by dawn,

were back in time for Morning Exercises,
to salute the flag. No one knew any different.

I got first place in the closing Talent Show,
sang One Way Or Another without underwear or bra.

Carolyn is
an MA Creative Writing degree candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University UK and editor of The
Literary Bohemian <>.
She's an American living with her Canadian husband in Czech Republic, where they own and operate Hostel  Krumlov House. Her literary career started more than twenty years ago as
an interim managing editor at AGNI.  You can find her poetry in 14by14,  Literary Mama, Perigee, Umbrella Journal, or forthcoming in Mothering Magazine.


This poem, though fictional, is based on my experiences at a Maine Methodist summer camp. Written in epistolary form, it parodies the letters we were supposed to write home, to assure our parents that they sent us to a healthy and wholesome place for religious contemplation. The truth is, there is a wild and wanton side to "Kum By Yah." The girl in this poem is becoming aware of her sexuality, but hasn't yet learned how to discern the good from the bad. In a way, this new-found sexual awareness becomes her new religion.



Copyright 2009