Have I mentioned lost feeling in extremities?
An entire weekend retreat intensive rehearsal
something I naively look forward to
even back when I barely knew faces much less names
pillow & sleeping bag
crashing on the bottom bunk nearest the bathroom.
Felt good; felt natural.
Now I'm getting associations
in hurricane force:
tents at the Yuba river, freedom
to wander with an air mattress
float the river's surface, skeeters poised
all six feet, totally non-threatening
back at camp
the man who haunted me.
I had no lifejacket; I swung on a rope
splashed into the water, swam back
did it again til exhausted
ideas of food took over
Potato chips & cheap burnt hot dogs with yellow mustard
corn from a can, gummy under-cooked pie
melted marshmallows mixed
with char from their immolation.
A sleepover with Valerie next door, and
the scary girl around the block
white lipstick & four front teeth
badly replaced after an accident
and somebody else; nobody I would hang out with at school.
Why was I there?
mother trying to socialize me again, get me away
from Tarzan books in my room
theater in my head. I see myself
playing a role anyway; the physical attraction to boys
75% of the attendees right there
the jokes, the sexy jammies
giggling over names of certain males
stillness & disapproval of anything serious. That would be me.
Surrounded by men
wanting the key.
Big brother assigned the role of teaser
little brother plowing through what I say,
raising his voice by increments until
he finishes his recitation.
To get the mic would be
to cry, to wait, to disappear, to arm.
Nothing really works consistently
like rats never fall for traps anymore.
The high school music director standing too close
mixture of faint after-shave
mold & sweat
the answer to his question
I want to do what I'm there for—sing my part
how can I get out of the fucking hallway.
Dad telling me sex is over-rated
guy in the dark next to the library
can I feel your tits
doesn't pause to get an answer
now-dead husband the night before our wedding
climbing onto me on the floor
you belong to me
sick dread waking up in bed with somebody
Wanting either to turn the car around
go back to a guy's house burn it down
or calmly swerve into oncoming traffic.