Barry Graham

Karly's uncle had a red brick house and a lazy gray and white bulldog chained to the clothesline. It bit off four of Karly's fingers once when it got loose. When it rained Ms. Salt made us stay inside at recess and play Thumb's-Up-Seven-Up. I was the only one who would touch Karly's thumb, sitting there all alone on top of the desk like the flag Neil Armstrong stuck inside the moon. On the Fourth of July her uncle curled her thumb up like a rocket launcher and lit the wicks of one hundred bottle rockets. She sat in the sun so long her bones hurt. On the 5th me and Karly sat on the floor of the garage under a yellow blanket scraping away at the blisters on the backs of our necks, me with my favorite Barry Bonds baseball card, her with her patriotic thumb. We'd grow up to be astronauts.