ChildHood Memories

By Alex

These are the things you don’t forget:

The crack of Barbie’s leg when it snaps;
your mother’s hand ripping her smooth, long limb
from her pelvis, a dead twig from a tree branch.

How much you miss the weight of your dark, silky hair
the first time it’s shorn; how boyish,
and unpretty you are now.

The itch of cheap wool on your arms in mid-summer;
where yellow and green checkered shirtsleeves
hide your bruises in a layer of trapped heat.

How far spit travels from angry lips, and how it sticks
to your cheek as it dries there, glue-like,
before you’re finally allowed to wash it off.

The rub of stinging nettles against your calves and thighs,
Hot, then cold, then hot again, before slowing to numbness,
Proof of all the hours you were forced to sit there.

How much your sister’s back, covered in welts,
Crisscrossed like a lattice growing blood orange,
Reminds you of the Crucifixion.
The way flashlights shine too bright and too hot
When directed at your private parts,
How your fingers are too small to cover up your shame.

How naturally hatred rises up and down with each breath,
as Mummy says she can’t stand the sight of you; and how alarmed
you are, at seven years old, that you feel this way.

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