When we were young
We’d raise such a storm
Raking leaves the wind
Pulled down last night

We’d take turns on the
Giant blue tarp,
Laughing, dragging each other down
The hill in the back yard
Somehow missing every pacing stone
Mama fretted about.

It wasn’t until I turned 13
That I started worrying
About how the puffy purple coat I wore
Clashed with the blue
and the red and orange and gold of
Leave fading to brown.
and I watched mom pulling you
Slowly down the hill, avoiding rocks.
Your laughs were never as loud,
but I was too proud of once
Catching the neighbor boy’s eye
before he moved on, and before I wanted that back.

I wish I could say I got better,
but I turned into a bitch and a liar
Fighting for 10-odd years
Against you representing everything
I know I was but continued to run from.
Your laugh was as warm as ever
When I finally came home
and I only cherish family dinners now
because I didn’t have them for a while.

If you had told me 10 months ago
That the best step forward
was back,
I would not have understood. But,
I remembered how leaves felt stuck in my hair.

I tried on that damn purple marshmallow
The other day, and
You just laughed at me and
Handed me a rake.


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