I Promise I Wash My Hands

Fort Greene, March 2020

I hated washing my hands when I was in middle school. I dreaded each time my nanny dragged me to the bathroom as soon as I took off my shoes. She looked over my shoulder while I washed my tiny hands stained in pencil lead because I was not to be trusted with my school-borne filth.

“See,” she would say. “See all the dirty water flowing down the drain?” And sometimes she would be right.