The first time I was nine years old, I guess,
and Rosie was just six. While our parents
slept it off again, we sat in the kitchen
where one of them had dumped a drawer
onto the table’s sticky oil cloth:
rusty jar lids, frayed lottery stubs,
several snag-toothed combs, rubber bands,
a pair of scissors, a key, a sheaf
of gnawed pencils, grimy Christmas ribbons,
old postcards, lighters, moldy spools of thread.
Whatever it meant was more than I could bear.
Funny, I forgot this till you asked.
Rosie’s little hands paced the tabletop,
like cautious sentinels guarding the
incoherent landscape of our lives.
I thought of the untarnished moon.
I wanted to get her out of there.
I wanted her to get me out.
Something big and dark filled me up
until I disappeared. Then
the astonished “O” of Rosie’s mouth,
her mirrored rage, dragged me back to earth.
I had cut off a lock of her hair, it seems.
We could not cry out.
I was not thinking of this later, many
years after we were separated, after
I was finally living alone when
I knew what I had to do to feel better
and bought the shears. I thought I was
invisible, but I wouldn’t be here,
would I, if I really was. I tell you, Continue reading