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OASIS by Charlene Moskal

The knob on the door could be locked from the inside, difficult to jimmy open if anyone wanted in. The child was on intimate terms with every peach and black tile, with every lime spot on silver spigots, with the length and breadth of the coffin-like pink tub,

(in her memoirs she wrote that sometimes in summer

she would lie in its empty coolness cross her hands

over her chest and pretend to be dead).

The peachy-pink oasis, her refuge against loud accusations, piercing shrill, starlings at dusk, hurled acidic words, skipping thought like old scratched records. She would watch herself in the mirror; watch as tears and snot ran into her mouth, watch her face redden,

(in her memoirs she wrote she tried different expressions

before she would open the door with a crumpled face,

piteously begging them, stop yelling).

She was intuitive, could gauge their reactions, search in her repertoire, find the most effective, most persuasive performance then tuck it away for future reference. Presaging her later role in life she became her own tragic heroine chosen to play the Princess,

(in her memoirs she wrote she believed she could

weave a magic spell, banish hurt, anger, fear,

live happy in a world of mutes).