Before my uncle can say Cheese, an air conditioner shudders awake shaking the quartered window panes. I think Earthquake. A radio tosses Take Good Care of My Baby through the fence slats. I can see one leg of the neighbor’s hot pink Capris as she bends and strangles weeds. My sister pinches me. A poodle barks and chases the sprinkler’s spray. The sun flashes the patio door. From the kitchen, my mother laughs. Rats rustle in palm trees that lean from the house. My brother begins to wail and my father tries to hold onto us all.

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Janeen RastallJaneen Pergrin Rastall lives in Gordon, MI, population 2. Her poetry has appeared in various publications including The Raleigh Review, Prime Number Magazine, Referential Magazine, Heron Tree, Midwestern Gothic, Great Lakes Review and The Michigan Poet.