Rebecca Michels

First Words
June 24, 2024 Michels Rebecca

First Words


In the marriage booth at sleep-away camp,
a red-headed boy convinced he loved me
slipped a tiny tin band with a green glass stone
onto my finger. He kissed me on the lips, I
stood there. The counselors were happy for us.
I didn’t say anything after I swung back
on the monkey bars in kindergarten and
smacked my head on the fake grass carpet.
After school, I rode the elevator with two sisters
I didn’t know. The older one got out at their floor,
the younger one pinched and twisted my arm,
I want to see if she’s going to say something.
Then she hit me. I wrapped my arms around
Elana at the top of Cedar Hill and expected
to explode in soft powder as our toboggan
slammed into a giant white boulder. My back
snapped hard; I didn’t tell my teacher.
On a hike in sixth grade, as I climbed onto
a higher rock, the boy behind me cupped
my butt in his hands and shoved me up.
Decades later, at my fiancé’s family Seder,
his brother grabbed my ass as I walked past.
Get the hell off of me! I said.
In the midst of our breakup a few years later
my fiancé propped himself up in bed,
My grandfather never liked you,
because of what you said to my brother.

Rebecca Michels is a poet and artist living in Madison, WI. She is currently in The Canopy Program.