Perennial by Jen Tynes

The boys garland me in red
deckle and introduce each other
to their gun faces, hard wood

beading up after a storm. I howl
“start your engines” and the boys
make raspberries and faux-fart

songs against their soft arms.
This street was not the one struck
by lightning last time, and I am

figuring out how to be the leader.
With my rattle torn out of

the skin before it leaves me.