MEGAN RUSSELL

Athens

POETRY

Athens is beautiful this time of year
but the trees aren’t blooming.
Cousin Alice says it’s because of the pesticides -
don’t ask me about it. She’s the smart one.
Every spring we used to visit my late
father’s home country -
Greece, that is.
Heaven wasn’t nearly as pretty as the things
I saw from my view on the handlebars of my brother’s bike, I was
just short enough so he could see over my shoulder while we
kept pace with the other freckled and ginger
losers that we called sisters.
Mom didn’t care how late we stayed out -
Nana,
on the other hand, threatened to
pickle our innards if the moon ever beat us home.
Quickly, we’d fly up the porch steps and
race to scrub mint between our teeth and brush brush brush before
she realized the house had been
too quiet for too long.
Under any other circumstances I might’ve
ventured back out after she fell asleep. But I had to make sure the
window stayed unlocked for everyone else and besides, my
x-ray vision wasn’t as powerful as my siblings.
Yet, I was angry every time my brother made the motion for me to
zip my lips as he slipped out into the dark.