They were screaming my name like a stain at the stairs.
At dinner, I was as silent as the meal. The broken unfrozen fish, its spine, the gray path.
“Do you want sauce?”
Well what kind of sauce. My sister, my sick and getting sicker mother.
I went back upstairs. I masturbated in the closet, my nightgown glowing.
And then they were screaming CAREN. On the tree outside there were peaches, a bunch of dolorous stars on branches, slow pink lights. If I swallowed balloons like vitamins, I’d bloat above them.
They screamed for me to get down. The stairs where screams are Origin! The screamroot base of elevation, wooden. My mother couldn’t use her limbs. But I was masturbating again. I was only eleven. I had my palm on my clitoris, nightgown bunched.
I couldn’t exactly hear their roar, exactly what they were saying. I know they sent more and more of my name up the stairs after me, screaming hounds of CARENS, my name untied from poles in their bodies. Sent feverish to find me.
My mother needed assistance.
My father, upon her illness: “You’re lucky, CAREN. Most dads would just leave.”
My mother needed a needle to be pushed into her inner thigh. My father wanted me to do it.
He didn’t want to handle any needle.
But I was busy. My clitoris like a loaf of angel ache. It was circuitous with the window, and the tree. It was a trembling cove of peach eggs. Its nightgown skin. Its place. Nameless, unnamable, not numb. My brain, though, a numb stone but I could seizure it into a star. Almost blue collar. My little frame trembling with abandon. A most sophisticated nurse. Expertise. Almost a scholar! My sophisticated palm, then finger, underwear there but disappeared. Filling the closet with violet. Turning the moon probably pink and the peaches heaving, and my mother’s muscles porous, receiving power. I softened and strengthened the house, a captain at the clitoral wheel in my vestibule. A stew of feathers, pouring down my mother’s legs, tickling and reviving her nerves. My anus full of twinkling ache. Grass, swoongreen and the moon ripe. Was spraying flesh on the tree. I’d get us home. I’d get us home. My palm was steering. They were calling my name, still. No, screaming. COME DOWN. CAREN! CAREN! But I’m not done! I didn’t ever want to be! I’m not coming.