Summer of losing control. Summer of giving up words because my foggy despair has been too much for thinking or writing about the bursting maple leaves or flush of clouds overhead or the thunder of loving and being loved. Summer of hunger. Summer of scrutiny in front of every mirror, deadened while simultaneously feeling like a stripped nerve held to flame. Summer of running from. Summer of going in circles and circles, looking for the unlocked door and finding none, just stoic plaster and echoing vibrations of sadness. Summer of playing both puppet master and marionette, dominating my own strings with an unforgiving hand [we control microcosms when we cannot control larger things; we count and obsess and ritualize because the reality we can't face will devour us if we don’t, and this reality is that life can be as unexpected and gut-wrenching as a small child stepping innocently onto a minefield while We the spectators look on, aghast]. Summer of doubt. Summer of wondering whether or not anyone has any love left for me, and if so, why? Why such an infinite reserve for my struggling tangle of inelegance and repeated failure? Summer of breaking the surface not for myself but for anybody who has ever felt like this, for anyone who has woken up with a hook through their gills and a throat twisted airless by invisible fists, for anybody who’s flexed their jaws in spite of it and let their tongues dance, for anyone brave. Summer of tremendous beauty witnessed from the wrong side of the glass. Summer of sunset and moonrise and daisies, daisies, daisies, so exquisite yet so far away from where I’ve been living; this morgue of nuclear silence and absent pulse. Summer of polarity. Summer of numbness swooping into ecstasy then dipping into bottomless rage with no middle ground, just explosions of zeal and explosions of ache, but always, always explosions. Summer of lightning. Summer of determination. Summer of humidity between two hands holding. Summer of finality and chin lift and aftermath, of rubble as my foundation and destruction as my momentum, and I, rising like a balloon, unstoppable. Summer of transformation. Summer of trying on selves like vintage gowns, rejecting one after the next with the growing panic that accompanies the fact that this is who I am—endlessly, inexorably, relentlessly—that I can try to run from her or shape her into someone else, but she will always return, this girl of hardness and softness, this woman of perseverant fire, this funny little garden of mishap and epiphany, that there is nowhere left to hide, just this room where I stand cornered, forced finally to turn and embrace myself with a fury of welcome.