Once, we posed our Barbie dolls like a Playboy shoot

by Kate Litterer

       We stole eggs from the refrigerator
       instead of the chicken coop—maybe
       we wanted to test if our parents will
       notice. They don’t.

Once, my sister threw
my cat into the creek. Once, I threw
a rock in the air knowing it might
fall on her & it did, but I didn’t mean it,
I was just curious. The only time
my father spanked me was when I
raced my sister to the front seat of the car,
slammed the door on her fingers, & kept
pulling while she screamed.
I wasn’t aware that she was hurting,
was I?

       But isn’t pain regular
       & to be expected? Shouldn’t my
       apology be implied & accepted
       without me having to ask for it?

When you’re young & neglected, grotesque
is normal. The floor is lava, you have
a Nintendo, you eat mashed
potatoes, so everything is normal.

Kate Litterer's poems appear in numerous online & print journals, such as Coconut, h_ngm_n, Forklift, Ohio, The Destroyer, and phantom limb, and are forthcoming from La Vague and finery. She is included in the anthology Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poems for the Next Generation, forthcoming from Penguin in 2015. Check her out at bestevercatparty.tumblr.com.