If I told you, I brushed my fingers over the iron rods of the heart-shaped window,
You’d think that I was conjuring up another metaphor
And I wouldn’t blame you because I consume symbols and spew parables regularly
Yet I did that every summer day after hopping on the van at 8 am and waving goodbye to my mother
Until she turned into a silhouette in the traffic crowd
And her concerned face shrunk into another dot I could no longer recognize.
I tightly clutch the rods anchoring me to reality
As the curly-haired sisters fight their way into the van and unload their bags on top of me- the girl who didn’t speak.
They vanish into the adult classrooms once the van screeches and halts at the camp
(Sixth graders seem like adults when you’re eight years old).
The cotton candy girl in the front row fixes the glasses perched on her nose and grins familiarly
The grin that said we can frisk through the gardens and breathe under the ocean as long as we’re together.
(I wonder if I ever cross her mind in quiet moments stolen from the time)
She paints hexagons on her pink paper and I make Mobius strips from my purple one
Until the kind teacher takes us to the movie room to watch chipmunks dancing and singing
Holding me in her lap, she gently fixes the collars of my strawberry frock.
Throughout my school year after that summer, I found myself thinking about her love and warmth
like distant fire fumes in a place that was miles away
Before the memory morphed into the hazy meshwork of my unlived childhood
And Mobius strips crystallized into infinite loops of adulthood.
Because as I was telling you earlier,
those heart-shaped windows had no panes, only rusty iron rods.