We shared a tent once near the Blue Ridge Mountains
and, in the middle of the night, I woke to pee.
You refused to leave the tent to guard me from bears
in the empty forest with only three other campers nearby.
The next night, I woke without feeling in my feet.
I nudged you awake to tell you I had frost bite.
You told me to shut up, that I worried
You told me I’d be fine in the morning—
how we’d packed
my car heading north through
the banks of snow. We sang along to music
knowing what the other would want to hear.
We would count
back from three,
plunging our heads under
all at once, and I would count
than they were,
that I lasted longer.
You taught me how to hold
my breath longer, so we
could scare our parents
by playing dead in the
pool in our backyard.
I learned to count the
seconds not as I wanted them to,
but as they happened.
And still I’m holding my breath,
waiting for you to gasp for air.
Cassie Osvatics is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English and a graduate of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House for poetry. During her time at the university, she was a photographer and reporter for UMD Writer’s Bloc. Cassie is a concert photographer for Bandsintown, and a creative writing intern at Writopia Lab D.C.”