The worst of it happened while down the hall
someone else played with toy trains. The man who said
that you were nothing doesn’t remember at all
or doesn’t seem to. The smell of alcohol
still takes you back to youth, recalls the dead
of night when the worst happened. Down the hall
memory was weaving a gentler tale,
a tale, years later, your mom would tell instead
of one in which you were nothing at all.
You leave. You move to Arkansas. You call
when you’re supposed to; everything goes unsaid.
Did the worst really happen down that hall?
What if you’ve made your trauma ritual,
obsessing over the same poem? Your head
aches with remembering. Nothing at all
proves your story. You made him break the wall,
they say, you’re shit. Be stone to dull the dread.
You know the worst happened, but down the hall
it was nothing no one remembers at all.