Hashtag throwback Thursday to the backyard of my youth on the east side of Buffalo, New York. This was in the time of tube socks, Bactine, and bubble gum. This was before the words ovarian cancer, metastasize, and life expectancy came to be known. We were golden in our green. Our lips the color of popsicles. The sky a Crayola crayon blue. There was no such thing as money or debt or loss or leaving. We were enveloped in the embrace of the neighborhood that extended several blocks. The struggles were unknown, they were the things of adults, and the things of adults were another country to us. The photographs of my youth are tricks of memory. I look outside of the frame, search inside the house for my mother. My father. But somehow the photograph pulls me outside again. I am on a bicycle again. I am running through mosquitoes at dusk again. I am a bloody knee. I am a scab. I am the band-aid placed there by my mother. I am peeling the wrapper off of a popsicle again. I am in the backyard again. I am peering through the fence again. I am looking out across the expanse of the neighborhood. The lights are coming on one by one against the darkness. There is the shadow of Mrs. Schlauger again, she is a ghost now. She was a sweetness of wet eyes who we got to know. How was it we got to know her exactly. My brother mowed her lawn when her husband couldn’t anymore. He was an oxygen tube in the front window. She was a candy. I am nine again looking out through the bent chain link fence to the future before the future took hold. Long before the words malignant and stage IV. Before metastasize and glioblastoma. Before the scratching of numbers on a notepad. The adding and subtracting of a mind at the end. Plus signs and minus signs. The figuring and dividing. I want to go back again to that fence and come back to it when I am out of college, when I have children of my own. When everything is falling apart. I want to stand at that fence and call out plus sunlight. Plus fireflies. Plus pancakes. Plus you. Plus you. Plus you.