“Some Things I Never Told Anyone” by Cindy Veach

Cindy Veach


When I begged my parents 
to let me go on the Mousetrap ride
I didn’t know 
that at each and every hairpin turn 
half my car would hang
for what seemed minutes in mid-air
before jerking right 
or left then back 
to a too short straight away 
before the next turn 
and the next
why did I tell them I loved it
on that holiday when my father 
forgot the Nikon 
its rolls and rolls of 35mm film
all our vacation photos
on the hook of a stall door 
in a London men’s room
when we were in the Tube 
hurtling toward Heathrow
he lost his temper yelled at us 
why did I think it was my fault
I picked that coaster ride
to show my parents
that their pre-teen daughter
could go it alone
dizzy with shame
I spotted them 
far below on trusted ground
clung to their faces 
why did I keep it to myself
when we stayed that night
at the highway motel
room doors open to the outdoors 
and I was helping 
carry our stuff board games piled
to my chin
and lost my way
picked the wrong door
pushed with my foot 
and walked in  
on a naked couple limbs entwined
the woman looked right at me
all those game boxes in my arms
Chutes and Ladders Candy Land Life 
each sharp edge marking 
the tender insides of my forearms 
my father left us standing there in the London Tube
six kids my mother her massive canvas bag 
of passports snacks tickets
she looked right at me
pulled the white sheet over their tangled legs 
I could not turn away
I’d never seen my parents touch
I gripped that Mousetrap’s safety bar
he caught the next train back 
to that stop that men’s room 
the camera gone
I saw I saw I saw
they were grown ups
as beautiful as statues in museums
I still blame myself

from Rattle #77, Fall 2022


Cindy Veach: “I believe that memories choose us and not the other way around. This poem braids together three memories that refused to leave me alone. I felt intense guilt and shame about each one of these memories and, true to the poem’s title, never shared them with anyone.” (web)

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