Someone taught me my soggy sock was too soft-squishy,
that I’d catch cold from mud-knuckled fists
and asphalt scrapes, that I should comb and dry my hair
to keep it soft for someone else’s fingers.
Someone told me there are no fish in Indiana,
that I couldn’t build a frog-pond because the thirsty earth
would drink my work up swallow by swallow
until the sunshine made mud dust.
I found seashells in my backyard
where the only salt was snail-sprinkled
and snow-speckled, where the ocean whispered
miles and millennia away like a hermit on a mountaintop
with only wind for company.
Hidden up a tree behind choke cherry blossoms
I waited as the leaves turned inside out
before the sky crashed down in waves
and all the birds went quiet, quiet in the call
of mother thunder.
They found me with toes curled into the earth
and eyelashes caked with rainsong,
breathing the stones’ perfume in deep
and exhaling lightning.