By Amber McCready


If I ever leave this world alive
I want my soul to be composed
of every laugh my parents ever made
every memory of relief
every dream induced disbelief.
I want to sleep like I am in the back
of my father’s car
driving home late at night,
like fright was a made up word
like made up worlds can be reached.
I want to be the first bite into a juicy peach
the first good deed in a pyramid scheme
of selfless acts
the wax from a burning candle
that smells like the best parts of home
and in the tome on my life
I want to read
rooftop conversations
thunder filled raindrops
trailer park dreams
quiet country dark
the smell of easter bunny cake
waking to Christmas morning surprises
ferris wheel lights
lakeside summer nights
wishes made on the moon
and a perfect tune.


My parents and I sat in the park
surrounded by other families
all looking expectantly at the darkening sky.
The ground is a collage of color,
most of us snuggled under sleeping bags,
our heads covered with beanies and scarves.
It is Independence Day,
I am three days into being nine years old,
and my list of unforgettable moments
is impressive but still very short.
Amidst the fireworks,
the booms and pops,
celebration and wonder,
it begins to snow on the fourth of July.
My list grows by one.


Mom telling us to let the cookies cool
before we eat them.
Her setting the timer and walking away.
You, being the taller of us, grabbing one
the moment she turned her back,
immediately giving half to me.
Burning our fingers, our tongues.
Laughing at the pain,
at mom’s face when she saw.


Summer thunderstorm rumbles over the mountains
its baritone echoing in powerful proclamation

my spine shivers in anticipation.
When the rain comes

my mother lets me out to worship
at least until the lightning gets too close.

She doesn’t believe the storm is a baptism
that would never hurt me.

Rain is my religion;
it feels like a hundred tiny embraces from God.

Eyes closed and face raised to the clouds.
I am reborn with each thunderclap.

Sky surrenders its weight,
a cleansing.


About the Author:

Amber McCready has been published in Chinquapin Literary Magazine and the Chico News and Review. After graduating from UCSC in 2013 with degrees in creative writing and psychology, she moved to Portland, Oregon. She is currently working on a collection of poems about childhood.