Our Blood-Red Summer

Glenn Milich

A blood-red summer spent in pine trees,
counting freedom on sap-stained fingers, you and I.
Laughing at danger
as we watched a world gone dizzy from

A stair of nails we tacked on branches
too sturdy to fall, climbing each one with our
sure-footed feet, racing squirrels.

          Twining string between our needle houses,
we made lifelines to a lifetime.
Whispered secrets drifting to the ground–
leaking from holes in cans too old to hold our hope.

We made friends with the lightning bugs,
grinning answers to their morse-coded questions, you and I,
high above the rules.