In Iowa City, the leaves are yellow and the houses are freshly-painted blue. If you look closely, you see the dog on the front porch is black, and I am in love with you.

I'm the one wearing striped knee socks, standing in the swing set sand, the one in the wind with her hair stuck to her lip gloss, the one saying swear words but in a pretty way. I'm the one who walked here, all the way across town, just to see you. I brought you a cat, even though it didn't like being transported.

We'll dress it up in a pig costume and pull its little black ears through the pig costume ear holes. We'll take pictures and feed it candy corn, which it will gladly eat. We'll watch it sharpen its declawed claws on the couch and cheer, "Tufted paws! Tufted paws!" We'll call it piggy, muppet, fat yard of leg warmer, and then we'll set it free.

It will reappear days later, on Halloween, dragging with its teeth a bag full of trick-or-treating. We'll praise it and eat all its best candies. We'll lie in bed and hold it to our ears like a conch shell to listen to it purr.


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Read RY's story, "Pentagon City."

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