“Dr. Levine’s Query” by Nadine Tardie

Nadine Tardie


He wanted to know
about my breasts and vagina
like, were they aroused
when I was 14
and my stepdad touched me
I couldn’t remember.
I couldn’t remember anything
but humiliation
and embarrassment
dirt that won’t wash
even with a loofah
I want to remember
I want to remember
The wires got so crossed
I installed an auto shut off valve
on my breasts, early in the game
it was activated when he touched me
yet something, something was there
an irritating mix
of feeling, not feeling
of enduring yet
drinking in his attention
I must be sexy
but it was so disgusting
having my mother watch
and my brother
what was it
what was it
I want to remember
sitting down at dinner
while his hand slid down my bra
a short circuit, yes
but what about the vagina
did it lubricate
was it silent, seething, nauseous
14 year old genitals are tricky things
fickle and hungry
seizing up under man hands
but I can’t remember
did I feel it
was I aroused

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

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