Learning about Masturbation on the Playground | The Ride Home


poems by Caitlin Plunkett


Learning about Masturbation on the Playground

The speckled rabbit hopped around my room and paused to eat
a pellet of his own shit. I sat on my pink carpet and watched.

He gnawed here and there, collecting dust with his whiskers,
stopping to chew the nose on a brunette Barbie doll lying

with one rubber knee bent inward, yellow sun dress hiked up
as if Ken had just been there, left her body in stiff protest.

The bunny hopped through the arched doorway of Barbie’s house
to appraise and shit on the new white floors of her living room.

I thought about last night with Valerie, how we perched
on the end of the double slide’s silver tongue, not wanting

to go home; how I wanted her whispers to be endless.
I had burrowed my feet deep into the night-cooled sand,

played out her confession in my mind, laughing so hard
I almost pissed myself. But she kept insisting it was serious.

The rabbit circled me and stopped to nibble an extension cord,
ignoring the nose-less Barbie. Nervous, I shooed him away.

I wanted something to fly in through the open window.
I wanted to be in my loft-bed with my feet flat against the ceiling.

Touching the exposed wire, I felt the pleasure of it in my teeth.


The Ride Home

“Thinking something is as bad as doing it,” my grandfather tells me in the car. I tried to think of as many bad things as I could until I found a good one. I’ll pretend to choke during dinner. I should build up to it, of course: shoveling peas energetically into my mouth.

My choking will make a little sound like a baby bird begging for a worm. I’ll act surprised when my father’s fist meets my solar plexus and the peas shoot out.

The best part will be the fear and concern.

Once, when I was really choking, I didn’t think the feeling of being full of death would go away. Like more than spaghetti was stopping my breath: a small globe of moths or a mat of dirty pigeon feathers.

The Heimlich videos in school say that if there’s no one around, use a chair. I asked my grandfather how bad a broken rib hurt. I think I can take it.



Caitlin Plunkett