I was 9 years old, wearing a green plaid dress
with a peter pan collar. Every time I remember my childhood
I’m wearing that dress. There was an immense
mahogany table. There must have been an eye chart.
The Doctor’s hands flapped like dying fish
over the top of my dress. I was too young to have breasts.
My mother said nothing.
I was too young to speak for myself.
The next day she said
‘I saw that man had his hands all over you.’
She was smiling.
I did the dishes every night, starting when I was so little
I had to stand on a chair to reach the sink.
That my mother would not protect me
was too big a thing for me to hide from myself.
I would have stopped breathing
if I’d had the strength.
I would have disappeared if I’d had any place to go.