I was six, standing on the bathroom
counter counting bruises on my thighs
in the mirror and the days
until summer would end.
I wore a baseball cap like my
father’s, down over my eyes,
and I wouldn’t cry
because boys don’t.
In the creek, I rinsed dirt and gravel
from scabbed knees, watched minnows
like blades glinting under
the current in late sunlight.
At the end of the summer, we buried
a dog in the pasture, washed her blood
and vomit from the porch
with a bucket of dishwater.