Both pain and itch are transmitted
by a class of nerve cells known
as TRPV1-expressing neurons which
trigger the release
of a molecule that originates in the heart.
When I was four, my mother
coined the term “itching your butt”
as a stand-in for masturbation
and once bribed me with a trip
to the Windward Mall arcade
if I promised to stop.
from that dark-lit blinging cave
tickets streaming from tiny hands
eager to return home
to my favorite wooden footstool
hand painted with a white rabbit
wearing a blue frock.
Because when I rubbed myself
frantically against its rounded corners
it felt better than the sweet-sour
pucker of li hing mui or the moss
against my bare feet as I paced
the rock wall in the front yard.
There were others too.
The padded sofa armrest,
the apple-sized knob
at the top of my bedpost.
Everything has a surface
even our atoms have facades
that sometimes look like faces.
And always watching, we learn
to turn away from ourselves.
My therapist theorizes it was a cry
for attention but it was mine
my sweet secret: infantile masturbation
otherwise known as gratification disorder.
I was innocent – free of the body politic
– pure animal – a lesson in
Evolution: That which separates us.
Yolanda Oreiro aka Mitucami Mituca is a freelance Galician illustrator, based in Barcelona, Spain. Available for freelance work at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Yolanda on Instagram.