A neighbor once caught me staring at the license plates on my block.  I was five years old.  We lived in a court and I was allowed to play in the court by myself so long as I didn’t wander off too far anywhere else which I did often but I had grown used to crouching, hopping fences and often could slip in and out to Lea’s house undetected. I don’t know the circumstances of why I was outside but I do remember it was overcast. I do remember I had a light jacket on, probably a shade of pink. I am sure my hair was uncombed. I am sure my bangs felt too long. I am sure that I was trying to rid myself of this hindrance even so young, tossing it away with my hand constantly or tying it back in a ponytail, patting the back of my head when it was sopping from the heat wishing I could peel it off. When it was cooler, I left it alone. Left it down and I am sure I was wearing pink corduroy pants with brown spots in the center of the knees and they were permanent. I was sure I had been tucking my chin to my neck and twisting the pine needle with both hands and crouching, my knees strong then. My white sneakers scuffed. The tips of my shoelaces drawn brown with mud and I am sure I didn’t hear her approach me from behind. I am sure she heard me muttering. 

I had been going up the driveway of each neighbor’s house and sitting behind the car, in front of the license plate. She had seen me from her window.  I was looking closely at the license plate, that is all she could see. I was looking at each piece of information. VA for state tags. To be clear it was VA, like VAH. Like the sound it made. Vah. I would say it.  The letters in front of the numbers. Some would be doubled. Some in doubles. That felt special, like they were chosen to be doubles. Like some plates required scrutiny. This one had a green tag in the top left corner which was usual but also did not have repeating numbers. XGH-2879. It would have sounded better, I am saying out loud, XGH-2873 when I hear her.

“Honey?”

 

I was five and soft and supple and ingenue and so much deeper than I am now. She said what are you doing? from behind me which scared me. I was tiny and crouched there with my most favorite one to hold; the withered needle. I am sure she heard me. 

 I said I’m trying to read the code.

 

I have a fear of swallowing pills
sometimes, and sometime I am fine
but sometimes I stick my zinc
inside my water
and wait for it to dissolve.
dress the glass with
lemon slices,
don’t cough at the medicine taste.
daily I take:
*I put my thumb up to count*

b12, nasal spray, rose hips (for the vitamin c),
vitamin c packets (for the vitamin C),
liquid chlorophyll for the lungs, elderberry for
the immunity, and aloe vera for the reflux.
(that’s one way I almost choked).
plus I dab in mugwort for the dreams
and movement of any sluggish blood,
coltsfoot for the throat, mullein for the
allergies, cohosh when I’m cramping
up or need a baby out.
nettles for some iron.
marshmallow root to coat my
irreparably dehydrated throat.
chamomile at night to rest
my wanton soul from leaping
out her skin.

honestly, I’m just trying not to go outside
or touch my face.
wash my hands.
bathe the day in isopropyl alcohol
and bergamot.
I ended up increasing my walks
to twice a day.
I don’t touch a single thing.
honestly. also
I almost choked to death five
times so this kind of means not a
thing to me.
plus I’m a nihilist.
my jaw clenched shut twice while eating
and a mouthful lodged itself.
a cherry pit got stuck in bolus,
two pills got caught in esophagus
and once I swallowed a safety pin
after placing it in a shot glass I then
used for vodka.
I somehow managed to cough and pull
it out.
oh and once I am pretty sure I got
alcohol poisoning.
oh and once I ran headfirst into
a cement mixer with my car
and broke my sternum and now
have a traumatic brain injury,
once I fell down some stairs,
once I got sucked in by a wave
and almost drowned,
once I leapt off my balcony after being
locked out and my landlord even
walked by me.
I waved.
could have told her but
I had a cat I was hiding.
we weren’t allowed to have cats.
I waited til she went inside the other building,
she was showing a couple around.
I took a breath, jumped  and
barely missed the pole
that was poking out of the ground
right below my apartment.
it was about five feet high.

honestly, I’m just trying not to go outside
or touch my face,
i’m not thinking about anything.
just sort of
twitching uncontrollably
which is why you maybe think
I’m more frenetic or stressed than
I am.
oh and I’m not allowed to eat
turmeric,
*I smile to show him my white teeth*
so I had to buy a capsule.

sometimes I’m scared to take that one too.
but no, I’m not any  more anxious
than before. what did you ask
me? Im sorry. 

“OCD” or “the iteration series”

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