in the afternoons of the first home i remember, my mom would take naps. the house would quiet to a stand still and shades would be pulled and all the air would be sucked out of the little apartment in a sort of dark grey haze. i would lie restless and waiting next to my mom on the king size bed as she rested like the dead. for a thousand years i watched the ceiling, finding animal shapes from water stains.. water stains like clouds. they seemed to form and reform. one of those afternoons i just couldn't take it anymore. i threw my four year old frame over the side of the bed, careful not to wake my mother and slid on my bottom down the carpeted stairs. the kitchen was warm from something my mother was slow cooking for dinner. i wandered the two shaded downstairs rooms and then did the only thing i could think of. i pulled a chair across the linoleum to the stove and hauled my tiny body up onto it. then i put both hands, flat and palm down, right on the stove top. one on each burner.
i wore socks slathered with vaseline on each of my hands for a week, my injured paws some kind of young badge of courage.
i am always hurting myself to see what happens.