In the Tree Fort

by Stacy Boe Miller

My sister gives me a cigarette,

says I don’t even have to

inhale. I blow out a cloud of

another world, take it

back into my mouth. She doesn’t

know she’ll soon tear up

her knee, marry a man

it will be smart to fear,

doesn’t see herself calling

our father from a gas station

with only her purse and pajamas.

I don’t yet feel the pull I will toward the wrong

kind of love, the demons

my pastor will try to drive out,

or the babies I’ll birth, two slipping from me

just slivers of themselves. We watch

my mother across the pasture,

pinning our clothes to the line. She doesn’t

look up to see our legs dangle,

our fingers move to our lips,

looking for what the world will offer

ready to answer with hunger.