I stayed with my grandmother for a week that summer,
and the light upstairs cast off orange from the wallpaper
in a warm glow that coloured my skin and the dusty air.
I read all of my aunt's old 1970s fashion magazines
and threaded the models' faces into a blue typewriter
to tap out sad messages on their skin.
Late at night,
I pretended I was an artist
in a town where no one knew me at all,
and when the moon was out and the air prickled my skin,
I walked barefoot through people's gardens
and crawled to smell their vegetables
and pet the stray cats the farmers had dropped off in town
for all the old ladies to feed by their back doors.
When I returned, no one asked where I had been.
We snapped peas at the table
while my grandmother talked about church meetings,
and I knew that it was my last summer
in the same way that one knows the fact of their being.
I had somehow been erased by the dark
as I slipped through the nights
on white feet over cool stones
down back alleys
under an anonymous moon.
It was a knowledge that felt honest and quiet,
and I relished the current of time
as it washed over my skin
while I waited
for the last day.