In her bedroom, we were very young. At the back of the small blue house, we played
some kind of pretend. She lived there until her parents split, everything split
down the middle, for sale sign in her yard of patchy grass. We were five or six.
She was my first friend. Even before you were born, our parents said. It was fall
outside her room. We were in the middle of some imaginary thing,
some scene with all the voices. I don’t know if she carried the box
in the room. Don’t know where I found it. She said it was a game. No pants allowed,
she said. There are always rules. One of us had to climb inside
the cardboard box with nothing on while the other called out Front or Back.
That’s the side you had to shove up at the hole then, the hole
peeking into the box with the small smooth girl inside. I asked her
what she meant by Front & Back. & though I knew real names
for the places she touched, I stayed quiet like early morning. My stomach
all squirm & sink as I rolled tights down legs in that room. Beside the box
I stood, worried & wishing the doorknob would turn. I watched leaves shake
on the trees, the trees as if on fire. They all seemed so far away. Where was anyone?