On the sheet, the child renders
a house with crayons: tilted roof,
fence, yard, the figures that make up
the family— The mother and father
are taking a nap. Or they are out.
Then a room— curtained over
with blue or black, disguised
by the steam from the iron
and the starch on the clothes—
where something happens for which
she has no words at the time: the uncle
wants to play doctor, to conduct
an examination— Neither did she
have words for doubt, suspicion,
the tingle in the parts that burned.
There are words whose meanings she’ll
mull over all her life: rupture
in her head, lesion on her tongue,
having come to their true disclosures.
When she says them now, she is like
the meter reader, gauging from month
to month the cost of what was used.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.