Five and Ten

Zahara

                                             

I didn’t tell

but when I was five

the babysitter said

 

You ticklish?

HaHaHaHa so funny how

he flipped me on my back

pinned me

 

his fingers

finding underarm hollows
spots that made me giggle
 

his fingers

clawing inside my pants

in ways I didn’t understand.


 

I was five.

I think I might’ve

mentioned that already.
 

I never liked being tickled after that

never laughed

when anyone tried.
 

* * *

 

I didn’t tell

but when I was ten

a neighbor man

 

pushed me up against the wall

in my parents’ backyard shed.

I knew him

 

people said he was nice.

He came to fix our mower.

Hey. Want to come here,

 

watch the motor start?

His voice, inside the shed.

I went.
 

He was kneeling

I peered over his shoulder

saw dirt, grass and grease

 

on blades that used to whir.

I smelled gasoline

before the door shut.

 

It’s funny how your own shed

seems roomy and bright

when you’re rooting around
 

in daylight
for nails and planks to hammer

into wonky tilted things.

 

I had never noticed how small,
how dark in there, with the door closed and

how scratchy the wood wall against my back.

 

I never liked sheds after that.
 

* * *

 

I still like people though.

I just tend to keep a distance.
People are like the wind
 

some tearing the roof from your house
blowing out the walls
laying a giant oak flat across your lawn.

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