I’m Sorry and I’m Not

I’m sorry that when we lived in Seattle
(OK, a suburb of)
and my parents would ask me to go outside
in the evenings, in my nightgown and bare feet
to salt the slugs,
I would do it. I didn’t know, somehow,
that when they foamed and flipped and writhed,
disappeared,
it meant I had killed them. I didn’t know.
somehow, that they were living animals at all —
it made no sense, my parents giving me a salt shaker,
if it was to kill something as the sun went down
behind the fir trees and inside Mount Rainier.
Once I realized, I stopped. I was probably four.
Around that same age, one day when I was playing
in the front yard, I couldn’t make it inside in time,
so I squatted at the end of the driveway, peeing
in the suds where we had just washed the car.
I’m not sorry. I stand by that decision, even now.

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