My tall windows let in the early light.
I get up, stare down at the cold 
blue of Skaneateles Lake. 
Ninth grade ended yesterday. 
I do not have to be up, or dressed,
or ready for anything, but

I need to be outside. I need to be alone.
I dress, creep downstairs, my cat
Samantha at my heels. She was a tiny
ball of fur when we moved here.
Now she’s a rangy adolescent.
Together, we escape the crowded house.

The grass is wet under my bare feet,
and cold. I leave dark footprints
where I pass. My feet grow numb,
and I begin to run. My shadow runs
before me, as tall and thin as I long to be.
The cat feints and pounces at my passing.

The house rises up behind me, three
full stories of late Victorian formality,
lightened by a few frivolous details–
stained glass windows, gingerbread trim,
a princess tower. I turn my back to it,
head for the garden.

The first strawberries are ripe.
I pick a handful, rinse them in the stream
that runs behind the barn. They are cold
against my teeth, and sweet. I eat them
in the back pasture, hidden by tall grasses
the horses have not yet grazed. I wonder
how long before anyone notices I am gone.