Zahara is a very private person.

Five and Ten



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.