You don’t know that she pees behind the house with That Girl whose mother doesn’t give a damn. You don’t know that she writes her name on many small and empty places that she shouldn’t, but that no one notices anyway.
You don’t know that That Girl spit in her face at school today, and laughed. Or that she makes her come into the bathroom stall at lunchtime while she goes. You don’t know what they talk about when they sit, all bundled from the cold, on the clean-plowed center of the cul-de-sac, while you look out the window. Or why she comes home with those, sad, ice blue eyes that make you want to hold her and shake her and tell her that she’s good. You don’t know if you’re to blame if she’s not.
You don’t know why she cut off her hair or why she scratched an X on the wall with an empty ballpoint pen. Or why it’s so easy for That Girl to talk her into walking on the ice, going too far down the street, pulling down her pants. You don’t know where she learned the word “wiener.” You don’t know that at six, she’s seen more wieners than you have at 32.
You don’t know until she climbs into your bed, and sits on your stomach and purges her guilts upon you until she collapses, and sleeps with her head like a weight on your chest. You don’t know when her limbs got so long or where her baby fat went, or what you’re going to do about all this in the morning.
You don’t know anything about little boys, and you thought you knew about little girls, but you were wrong. You don’t know.