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Remember cold winter days, the windows locked shut to keep the chill outside,
where it belongs, away from the warmth of the OnDemand fireplace
and hot cocoa with fluff on top.
The dog barking from the laundry room, trying to jump over the gate
Mom bought with her discount at Wal*Mart.
The shade’s left open on purpose so we can admire the crisp white snow
settling on the branches of the tree in the backyard.
Five o’clock: we pile into the car, to Great Gram’s house
for presents from people we haven’t seen since Thanksgiving.
Two aunts, two uncles, seven cousins, one grandmother,
one great grandmother, two parents,
all sit on the floor, backs against furniture
to rip the perfect wrapping off of every package under that tree.
Remember the chill of early spring mornings, shoes left outside
with dog poop on the bottoms, shivering as you shove your feet into them
at seven o’clock, catching the bus by mere seconds.
Forgetting that your sweatshirt is sitting on the edge of your bed
until you pull into the school parking lot,
and now that it’s on your mind,
you’re cold for the rest of the day, your body playing a cruel trick
on you, just because it can.
Homework is shoved into a bag ripping at the seams,
just waiting to get done under that tree with the pink flowers
that everyone wants to cut down.
Remember hot summer evenings, sitting by the fire,
Watching the fireflies dance among the leaves of the pink flowered tree,
taunting the boy below that has every hope of catching just one
of those mysterious little creatures.
Marshmallows are thrown on a table, two of them overflowing onto the glass,
roasting sticks lean against a rock, taunting the dirt with how easily the
leftover goo would attract its tiny grains.
A half used chocolate bar covered with ants is left for dead among the rocks and toys
as another log is thrown over the flames and the moon lights everything
just enough for them to see each others faces.
Remember the crunch of dead leaves under feet walking to everywhere.
The bare branches of that tree allowing others to see through.
To see what’s usually hidden from eye’s that are not knowing.
Raking these leaves into a neat little for jumping,
to pointlessly scatter them around the yard again,
wasting a whole hour’s worth of work in ten minutes,
to have that temporary laugh with the people you still love.
The rake is next to the front door, leaning against the light yellow siding
until we decide to rake the leaves again and
get rid of what we know longer need.