They say that, according to science, children start developing memories around the age of four
That you don’t consciously remember the way his fingers stroked your back
while he whispered that everything was okay. It lies somewhere in your brain.
You don’t remember when he said that this was okay,
or the way his big hand felt through the thin white cotton t-shirt
burning cold, as if he’d just said his good-byes to Brutus, Cassius, and Judas.
They say that, according to science, if he had gotten drunk a few months earlier
In the depths winter when it’s too chilly and in that instant your parents remember
The dangers of hypothermia and make you put on thick Little Mermaid pajamas
He might not have found you attractive. The silly innocence of a girl sprawled on her bed
missing a sock on her foot. He would’ve passed out on your parent’s couch, and left in the morning.
Instead he told your parents he wanted to tell you goodnight.
When your window was open and the hot sticky breeze cooled your sweaty face and you could smell
his cologne and alcohol on his breath, and his clammy palms touching your twiggy thighs,
opening them to reveal Wal-Mart pink underwear with virginal flowers smiling back at him.
He burned your parents eyes with fire water and they refused to see him look at you with soft eyes
as he undid his pants and laid down with you in your tiny twin- sized bed.
No, you will not consciously remember this at eleven.
You will only show biological signs of remembering. Some hidden space in your brain is the only one
that is terrified of men. At the slight mention of them,
or any sexual act and your palms will sweat, and you will say it is because this idea is new to you.
You are nervous, but in reality you warn yourself. Do not let this man touch you, do not let him look at you, do not let him have anything of yours because you are precious.
But you don’t listen, because you don’t remember the way he felt throbbing against you.
You’ve not succumbed to science you succumbed to yourself and suppressed the memory of him ever grabbing
your hand. He was your friend and he betrayed you just as you have betrayed yourself.
Today you will remember
and you will hurt.