Invitation by Rachel Schmieder-Gropen Stay with me. There are window screens to pull free and rooftops to climb onto and leaves to throw from high places so that they flutter down slowly, while the warm air catches them on its currents and puts them down in soft places, like a lifeboat, like a friend who wants to skip rocks across gravel and laugh at the way they bounce and skitter like small wingless creatures with springs in their feet, like waiting for a care package from your friend in Mississippi, like asking your old babysitter to send you pictures of the butternut squash risotto she just cooked up. Stay with me the way the leaves stay, even broken, even mostly dead, even on the ground — Stay. Stay. Stay, like autumn, like I’m not asking for constancy but I am asking for renewal, like the time I asked you how you have survived so long and you said, “little things.” Stand with me on the rooftop of this world and throw yourself off like leaves in late October and trust that the wind will find a way to let you down soft.