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Thoughts from a Childhood

Men red in the face. Mothers who do not know what to do
with these men. I am on the Sandy Brook River
asking my mom – what is a brook? And saying
 
I know I dead girl named Brooke. That is a soap opera name
my mom whispers to my father, but
three years later the Bold and the Beautiful
names a baby girl Sage and my mom does not remember
her comment – and sometimes I do not remember the girl.
 
She taught me a dirty joke she’d whisper at lunchtime –
I smell fish, close your legs.
 
I did not know what it meant but told it
at sleepovers and when my friend also did not know
I rolled my eyes. They were all
 
more honest about their innocence
and they still are – I would rather tell the man in my bed
how many others there have been than admit to loving one. Screaming
 
I would rather not admit to the screaming, the
crying – I pretend often that I love to laugh. Truly, I am nose-deep
in the bathtub speaking
 
to ghosts (the first man I fell in love with was a ghost
he gave me a glass ring, a white dress and the ugliest
complex). The water turns cold. It is still running like the
 
river and my feet are cold, in the sand, my mother say a
brook you can step or wade but a river you swim through.

 
 
 
 

Sage Calder Hahn grew up in rural Northwest Connecticut and currently lives in Boston. She works as a sex-educator in Brookline. Her writing has been featured in Open Letters Monthly.