We All Fall Down | Alissa Hattman

I hold your hand, and in your hands are my hand and her hand. In her hands are your hand and another hand, and in another’s hands are her hand and someone else’s hand. In someone else’s hands is another hand and, also, my hand. Like this, we go around and around.

She sings ring around the rosie, but I see no rosie. I am confused. Where is the rosie?

We circle and circle and I ask another—What is a rosie? Are you the rosie? And then I ask you, Who among us?

You just smile and say: Wait your turn, Savannah.

We are circling and circling and circling and then someone else sings pocket full of posies, which sounds like pocket full of poppies, which sounds like code for drugs. I want the drugs, so I ask if someone else has the posies and, as I ask, I cannot help but wonder if it is The Good Stuff and if it is The Good Stuff I cannot help but want it. All of it. You hold my hand tighter and nod slowly, slowly.

Ashes, ashes.

That’s when you and another pull me down.

Down, down on the ground, I realize we are not ourselves, and no one has The Good Stuff, and we are no longer little children. We go hand-in-hand, laughing up petals from our lips while the playground goes round and round and round.

The song1 plays. Ashes, ashes.


1 The song! O, the song! The song is alive in the bodies of children and the children will lock hands and sing from their bodies and the children singing will make their bodies feel alive inside their hands and it. It being the rosie, which keeps ringing, ringing, ringing—

Alissa Hattman’s writing has appeared in Carve, The Rumpus, Hobart, Gravel, Propeller, MAYDAY and elsewhere. Originally from North Dakota, she now lives and teaches in the Pacific Northwest.