​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

Nin Andrews’ poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry.  She is the author of 7 chapbooks and 7 full-length poetry collections.  Her collection, Why God Is a Woman, won the Ohioana Award for 2016. Her next book, Miss August, will be published by CavanKerry Press in May, 2017.

C O N F E S S I O N   1 1 

B Y   N I N   A N D R E W S

Even now you claim to barely remember it. The smell, a strange mixture of antiseptic and Old Spice is still in your mind, and so is she, that twelve year old girl you were once. She went to the infirmary at sleep-away camp the night her belly tightened to a fist. Is it cramps? the doctor asked. No, she was too young for that. Too skinny, her legs, spaghetti strands. The doctor, a heavyset man with skin the color of honey, stood over her, a fly circling a single light bulb. Outside it was raining. You remember the rhythmic drumming overhead. Or was it her heartbeat, going fast?  There were moles on the doctor’s neck—she counted them, one, two, three, his wine-scented breath, sweet and hot on her face. It’s okay, he said in a foreign accent so it sounded like Sake. Maybe he doesn’t understand, she thought. That’s why he pressed his gloved fingers between her legs. The girl, pale and shivery, sucked for air like a hooked fish. Why didn’t you stop him? Scream? Run? Instead, you let that doctor, his pink tongue gliding over his lips, fondle her button breasts, her freckled legs, her labia, as he opened and opened the darkness inside her. Panting, he whispered Good girl or Goot gul, yes, yes, his eyes glazing as his glasses slipped down his nose. Somewhere a lock clicked. There were footsteps in the corridor. All at once, he pulled back, snapped his latex gloves off, and began washing his hands in the silver sink. It’s late, he said before he left. Soon they ring for bed. Slimy and cold on the paper-lined table, the girl stayed in that room, staring at the glass jars of lollipops, cotton swabs, and stickers of butterflies on the shelf. The last bell of the day rang out. Through dusty window slats she glimpsed her friend, Maggie, with long braids, swinging open the door to the dormitory, letting out a sliver of light. At last you spoke. Get dressed, you said. Go! And she did. Walking out into the night with slow, mincing steps, she slid back into her bottom bunk and into the sleep of little girls.