I grew up in a small house, with acres of tall grass 

and layers of woodland.

In winter we made snowmen;

carrot noses and knitted scarves.

In autumn we lived in leaves, crunching in our hands

and flying away with the wind.

We jumped through sprinklers throughout the hot summers.

Grass shavings stuck to our feet and inchworms fell on our heads.

We drove our old rusted bikes down to the 7-Eleven,

buying every color

of plastic ice popsicles.

We ran around in twilight,

our walkie talkies in hand.

A lone light shined down on us, illuminating the driveway.

Coyotes listened as

we whispered, are you there?

I once climbed a tree and sat down on a thick rotted branch.

I saw the whole town from there,

peeled back the tree’s bark and found hundreds of bugs crawling.

I fell all the way down,

down until I landed on a pile of mulch and worms.

I ran inside, shaking

the house filled my screams.

But I think it was just a dream.

Your Green Curtain.

Mom warned us not to stay up too late.

The air mattress we squeezed inside your blue-green room fits just right, and sometimes I contemplate never leaving this spot.

The closet behind me always enticed me. My favorite hide-and-go-seek spot.

It goes so far back, it’s impossible to find what you are looking for.

I feel so, so safe.

Laughter–my uncle’s laugh to be exact–fits right in with our kitchen. I can hear it all the way from under my blankets.

I wonder how our Christmas lights look like to cars passing by. I hope they notice them. My dad worked so hard this year.

We are a home in the woods. With the deer, the foxes and coyotes, and sometimes that turkey that knocks on our door.

I have never felt more at home.

Tins of cookies, wrapping paper next to scissors, with the tape that always goes missing. Chocolate bars filled with mint, and the basement of cement that has never felt more cozy.

This is what I want to remember.

I go to bed early, with the door open to let light in, of course. You sneak in later, hoping not to wake me, but I won’t be sleeping tonight.

Tonight, I will stare at the shadows casted on your ceiling, focus on the cars passing in the distance, and hope for a hundred more nights just like this.

And when I wake, I will wait as you sleep, and wonder how we will attempt to get our brother up this year.

I am impatient, no matter how hard I try not to be.

I know we are not the same, even if we do share the same blood, our worlds are completely different.

You two are looking at your future laid out before you, with the weight of adulthood on your shoulders.

I am merely ten years old, with nothing to bear–except for my childishness.

Mom and dad will make sure to leave out milk and cookies. I haven’t worked up the courage to tell them they don’t have to anymore.

I am their youngest, the very last one.

They tell me they named me for my grandmother, but I don’t even know what she looked like.

Do I look like her?

Sometimes I hug your green curtain, the one next to your bed that hides the shadows of the trees. It matches your room perfectly.

It’s so soft, it reminds me of your face the time mom and I comforted you while you cried.

Fourteen-years-old, your face puffy with tears. I tried so hard to wipe them away.

I never understood what you cried about.

I do now.