The Poetry Project

No Sweat

Irene Nelson

During the summer between
5th and 6th grade, there were
whole days I was so bored,
so sluggish I willed myself

to sleep 20 hours a day. It wasn’t
until years later I realized I
could choose to live in another
place that did not have humidity

or for that matter, my family.
During that summer I ‘developed’
(my mother’s word for it). She
bought me sanitary napkins, said

You need to be careful— now
you could get raped. I didn’t
know what she was talking about.
As my breasts quickly grew, boys

at the playground would taunt me.
They would call me Knobby
Nelson, shout Look at those
Falsies. They threw stones

to see if my breasts were real.
I tell no one, decide to take
action. I can still picture
myself walking down the

stairs to the playground. I
approach Pimply Lenny and
Red Crewcut Raymond—boys
from my class who were less
bullyish than the others.
I ask them to come with me
to the woods nearby
so that I could show them my tits.

They smile sheepishly as I
take off my blouse and reveal
those bazooms. Those stupid
little boys were dumbstruck.

Tell the others these are real.
And that was that.

Work from Architecture of the Interior: how to save the house with Angel Dominguez