those flashes…

and the 3 of us were somewhere
between 9 and 12   years old
and we would gather in the brush
outside the driveway about 9:30
p.m. and look under the shade
and the curtains at Mrs. Curson’s
highly-crossed legs–
one ankle wiggling, such a fine
thin ankle!–
and she always had her skirt
above the knees
actually above the knees…
and then above the garter that
held the hose we could see
the white…
how we looked and breathed and
dreamed about those flashes of
white… there…
and Mr. Curson would suddenly
get   up from his chair to
let his dog out the door and
we’d start running through yards
climbing 8 foot lattice fences,
falling, getting up, running for
finally getting brave and
stopping at some hamburger stand
for a coke.
I’m sure that Mrs. Curson never
realized what her legs did to

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: