the summer before we left home
was a stifling one;
a bucket of teeming snakes,
writhing for freedom.
she dropped into our muggy lives like the whisper of fall,
but she wasn’t anything less than a shout.
she was fire and Coca-Cola
and on her back she carried the whole universe,
wrapped neatly in red hair and restlessness.
that summer we screamed to the sky,
cursed its void,
and took oxygen for granted.
before we knew it
she was gone like the whisper of fall
leaving behind strands of red
and the echo of something
that could have been greater.