i wake up remembering that crooked house we used to call home. buried at the end of a street. i took an aerosol can and sprayed every wall of my dollhouse, cleaning until my eyes ran with the smell. and you stood in front of me, saying easy girl. your lungs aren't made to breathe this in. so i laid down on the peach of your sheets, i remember thinking i was afraid to go to sleep. i remember being so scared that i just wasn't going to wake up. that i had breathed in too much of that tin can to ever breathe right again. but when i put my head under your covers, i wasn't so scared anymore. i wake up, twenty five years old and i still miss having you to hide behind. i wake up remembering crooked houses and aerosol cans and all it makes me think about is all the ways you're now going to hide behind us. and we will batten down our hatches, we will weather any storm. all for you, my mother. because we just can't let anything get past us, we wont let anything in that keeps you from surviving your sleep.