Session on Rope

by Dhira Weiss

“When did it begin,” the therapist asked,
“this desire to be bound?”

A long pause while
she decided whether to tell,
or to make something up.

“When I was nine.
I was playing hide-and-seek.
I hid behind my neighbor’s freezer.

My friend couldn’t find me.
It got dark. My parents couldn’t find me.
They called and called.”

“And how did that make you feel?” asked the therapist.

“I was happy,” she said.
“I was curled up into a small space.
I could barely move.
It was private.”

“Did someone find you?”
he asked.

“No. After a long time, I came out.
My father cried when he saw me.
After that I hid in small spaces
every chance I got.

Under my bed.
Under my school building.
In my dog’s house.
In the center of clothing racks
at the mall.”

“But,” he said
uncomfortably,
“In a sexual situation…
when you’re tied up and
your partner can do
whatever he wants with you…
Isn’t that the opposite of privacy?”

She smiled, got up,
and walked out of his office.

He could smell her perfume
for a moment.

In the elevator she thought,
To expose everything and remain hidden
is the essence of privacy.

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