She hates it when it rains at her parents' house.

The basement smells cool and fresh,

It becomes bearable in the rooms of plaster dust and cement

And she can open the window and feel the breeze wash over her bare skin

But that's not why she hates it.

The smell of cat piss and dirty litter gets washed out

And the rain gives her a soothing lullaby

So she can sleep peacefully and imagine she's a gypsy on the open plains

But that's not why she hates it.

She hates it because the rain makes the bugs come out, all creepy-crawly and black

Normally she's good with bugs, normally she doesn't get squeamish

But for some reason tonight they just make her skin crawl and make her freak out

Even after four different trips back and forth, with three different shoes,

She keeps finding more and more creeping across the cement

Until finally she runs upstairs and announces to her mother that she can't go back down


Refuses to go down there and stay

She even ties her hair up in a loose elastic ponytail holder

Because the tips of her hair on her skin feel like millions of itty bitty legs and that's the

last thing she needs

Every last sensation makes her jump and scratch at her skin in fear

She knows they're harmless little bugs but she still can't cope

So she ignores her mother's protests and her brother's jeers and clears off the couch

Six different pillows, three sets of two in all

With a basket of bedding and a long-haired cat are all move off

Then she shuts off all the lights and shoos the cat off again so she can stretch out for a

moment or two

Tries to sleep but all she hears over the sound of the air conditioner is

The sound they made when she crushed them with a shoes

And so she jumps and scratches but doesn't dream, because this isn't her bed and it's not

safe from the noise.

Eventually she passes out after scribbling down her thoughts on a yellow legal pad

Before slipping her hands down her shorts to truly lull herself to sleep

And as she fades away, she dreams of warm laughter and bright eyes and nothing more.