Memory (or the way I remember it)


By Tonya Sauer

Shame isn't small.
Not quiet, either. It is a clanging
bell; it is a stone wheel just waiting
to loop around the neck.

The blond-haired neighbor boy
and I sat with our backs
to the white-painted shed.

The sky was ordinary with blue.
What else to say? Perhaps,
a stray cloud looked on.

Grandma always said
boys were trouble. Little girls,
she said, should be pure of heart, of body.

Summer dripped from every
creased fold of skin.
We were young.

How much gullibility
is allowed before it turns
into my own fault?

What of curiosity,
that turning toward what isn't
known, but is calling.

And, let me be honest—I never
refused a dare, no matter the cost.

His was pale, hairless.
That much I remember.

Taste? Skin, I guess. Sweat
crystalline. Maybe sweet.

I didn't linger. But my lips?
They were still touched.


Tonya Sauer is a nurse. She recently attended the Kenyon Review Writer's Workshop, and has poems published and forthcoming in Gnarled Oak, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, and The Tishman Review. She works and lives in Elgin, Illinois with her husband.