first, the mother outside taps sweetly three times on your window each morning at six – for that is the hour she wakes from her slumbers, melting away darkness, pushing through black. you step outside; she folds you into her arms, admiring her work in your sun-kissed hair. she tells you jokes, eyes crinkled 'round edges and you laugh, tasting honey in her skin. then there's that playful teenage boy who lives next door, constantly trying to upstage the mother. his hair is not constant; it fades amber sepia chestnut – his voice crackles when he speaks, the words crunching and snapping around ghostly tales. he whispers in your ear sending chills down your spine; speaks truth that he knows he's your favorite. once his hair blankets the ground, a sleek man gently covers evidence of that teenage boy's reckless pranks, like a father cleaning up after playtime. the man's gaze holds not malice, but apprehension; he is capable of more than he lets on. when his gray, crystallized gaze lands upon you, you'll want to bundle up. he'll pinch your cheeks without pinching your cheeks – they'll turn rosy and warm though the rest of you is not. and when he whistles a perplexing tune as he floats away – hands in pockets, you know you'll never stop wondering. finally, a little girl skips into view and everything evaporates. she plays hide and seek with your worries; once she hides them, never do they reappear. her breath is sweet like lemon drops; when she giggles you find your heart thawing. her pigtails bounce as she dances and her humming entices the rabbits the chipmunks the blue jays to frolic along to her invisible song. she uses a gray sky as a canvas and enhances it with blues, purples, and pinks. and when she's tired from an afternoon of play, she runs into the arms of the mother, who puts her to bed and takes a step outside.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.
This piece won the November 2014 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.