I want to go back to when I first felt the acid rain.
When I could waste a summer Wednesday
during a Midwest thunderstorm
over the gray gravel in my babysitter’s driveway.
The unnatural stones
my feet as I raked my soles over them
I slid homerun-style into the muddy sidewalk
to the slope that slipped into the crabapple tree
and its crushed fruit,devoid of the yellow jackets that normally
my feet, as I danced a rhythm of thunder
beneath the sky lightning.
Before the air grew less
and the sun remembered to sweep the debris away.
Before I showered under the house drain
the grass blades, mud, and sticky apple pulp
from my body
with the rainwater that
raw streaks down my pink swimsuit and bare limbs
and stung my tongue like the hot metal
of a pancake griddle.
I was born again in a bath tub
of peach bubbles and Prell shampoo.
J.L. Smith lives in Eagle River, Alaska. Her work has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Dirty Chai, Cirque, and Yellow Chair Review, among others. See more of her work at jlsmithwrites.com.