Bonnie Nevel


My friend Sheila loved
to make our Barbies and Kens
grind their hard plastic bodies
together like cogs that didnít fit.
She knew where babies came from
and told me a story so unbelievable
that I begged her for it again and again,
my eyes narrowed, my mouth contorted
the way it shapes around the taste
of milk a week past its due date.

But one night the click of the door
closing behind the babysitterís good-bye
roused me like a clock set for puberty,
and I listened for the tinkle of ice in a glass
that marked my motherís progress up the stairs
with a new boyfriend from the bar.
Her bedroom door cracked open
the width of an eye. I watched
as my mother and the stranger
grabbed each other, ferocious
and urgent. They groaned and humped
like the neighborís dogs.

And yet I could not deny the seed of a stirring,
a tingling like a finger dug too far
into oneís own navel. After they collapsed
on the bed like deflated balloons
I crept back to my room,
newly edged and foreign.

Bonnie Nevel
Bonnie Nevel is a wetland biologist and freelance editor living in Washington, D.C.



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