petrichor the last snap of her jump rope
The Day Everything Changes
Bundled in blankets on a morning already hot, our mother lays you down in the bassinet, your red hair a surprise. Your tininess. She looks worried that I am even in the room, but father promised me a peek at my new brother before we leave for the hospital. I have scarlet fever and will spend the next two weeks away. I don’t know about the yellow sign yet, already on the door, that says Do not enter—scarlet fever. I am seven and do not understand the word quarantined means summer in an attic bedroom. Without visitors. Without seeing you.
I hear you cry.
When our mother slides my meal tray under the door, she usually talks to me for a while. She tells me your hair is still red, that you smile when our mother smiles. She tells me you sleep with your tiny hands curled into fists. When I ask why you cry so much, she explains that crying is the only way a baby says, I’m hungry. I need to be changed. Something hurts.
from the burn barrel
an ember smolders . . .
no one sees