Misplacing Their Ring Fingers

June 18, 2017

The summer my parents lost their marriage
like so many magnets kicked under the refrigerator,
my cousin and I named trees after babysitters
we never had. We lived in our bathing suits,
washed our hair in pond water and sunburned.

(Once, my mother slammed the screen
door so hard, I comforted the hinges.) I taught
my cousin how to make face paint out of spit
and dirt. She taught me to swim underwater.

(Once, I found my father weeping on the bed
they did not share anymore.) On the green carpet
of summer, we played until the cicadas, dressed
in dusk, called us to dinner. We kissed goodnight
and I ran home barefoot in the dark.

(Once, I sat between my parents and placed their hands
in my lap like a seatbelt. I do not remember this.)
To this day, walking at night on that creaking road
still reminds me of wolves.

Sierra DeMulder

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