Summer

SummerSummer: You can’t touch it, you can’t have it.

Your mind is too big for your body.

Tuff n Tiny, like your older cousin calls you. Calls you from the corner where he’s smoking with his friends after church.

She won’t call when you’re in school. Just text.

You are holding everything the world wants from you in your phone and everything you want from the world. You are holding it in first, second, fourth periods. You are looking into it and searching through it. None of it belongs to you.

What belongs to you are three baby cousins who live with you. What belongs to you is the long, hard flutter of helicopters daytime, nighttime. The baby cousins will belong to you the whole weekend. They will never sit. They will pretend to be helicopters. They will pretend to shoot guns.

Summer, but not before the final essay and the final test and the final presentation.

What belongs to you is the headache sickness from the mold in the bathroom or the spray that was used to kill the bugs on the trees in your yard. What belongs to you is mono, and strep throat, and then the ping of the phone.

In fourth period she’s telling you everything and you’re looking in your lap in between problems.

In sixth period she passes by the door and you see her grin.

What belongs to you is the blush you can’t control.

You like your pants loose. You like your laces relaxed. You like things color coordinated. What belongs to you are the free Raiders tickets the second week of school. What belongs to you in three weeks is summer.

You’ll get a C in Math. You’ll get an A in history. You’ll get a B+ in English. You know what you want to write about.

Your mom left in summer. Your aunt died in the fall. Your babiest cousin was born last year in the spring and now he says your name like a mouthful of melted cheese.

Summer: it’s yours and it’s not yours.

You’ll work till ten. You’ll be out on the porch, out on the corner. You’ll say no when they ask if you want a hit. You’ll be bored for days on end.

Tuff n Tiny. What belongs to you are long Netflix nights and self-cooked dinners and the broken screen where the bugs get in and your babiest cousin laughing his head off at something stupid.

You said it in class because you had to read your story out loud. You said it in class about the lady on the bus who told you both you did not belong to God because you were laying your head on her shoulder.

You said I am gay in class like it was nothing and the other kids listened hard.

You are holding everything you want from the world and you’ll know it when it opens: the hot air of your street, the mountains painted on the neighbor’s fence, the sun going down over millions of cities, all yours, all at once.

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