When I was nine, I filled my room with things from the woods. Owl feathers, raccoon skulls, river rocks. I charged twenty-five cents to see them.
Dirt followed me through the house, and spider mites, too. Mom rolled her eyes and swept the tile. She combed the twigs from my rat’s-nest hair and pulled burrs from my clothes.
When I brought in a snakeskin, she backed against the far wall and said, “Don’t bring that in my house.”
But I was already up the stairs.
Every day, she tapped on my door, opened it, and slid a quarter into my palm.