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Reprinted with permission. After George Ella Lyon.
Where I’m From
By Zoe Rosso
I am from chocolate bars.
From Trident gum and Izze.
I am from the Legos on the floor. Small, big, and painful when stepped on.
I am from the rosebushes,
And the big trees we can’t climb at school.
I am from unwrapping Christmas presents at the Winterblatts’ house,
And not noticing the milk two inches away from my nose.
From Rosenblatts and Jennings
I am from the naps on the sofa,
And forgetting things till the day before they’re due.
From; ‘Just have two bites!’ and, ‘settle down!’
I am from lighting the menorah for eight days and shrieking 50 times when I go downstairs on the 25th.
I’m from Arlington, and Scotland, and Italy.
From large diet cokes and Frosties.
From the time Zeke ate a plastic baby and the time Zeke pulled down my pants in front of my family.
I am from millions of pictures on the walls reminding me of when I was little, flooding me with happiness and the want to relive that moment.
Sometimes I fantasize
about a sofa that appears only to me
in the bathroom
So that when a certain three-and-a-half-year-old climbs into our bed before dawn, sweetly saying “I want to be with you, Mommy” and handing me his lion to snuggle with and asking to hold my hand but then proceeds to cough repeatedly into my face
and poke his finger into my throat
and tap me on the nose
and plant his foot in my crotch
and bounce his dog on my boob
and take up my entire pillow
and exile me to the outer limits of the bed, generously granting me
six whole inches in which to lie down
And when I tell him to stop he asks “Why?” and I say
“Because it hurts, because it’s annoying,
because that’s my body and I don’t like you touching me like that,”
and he just repeats his question, “WHY?”
I can say, “I have to go potty, I’ll be right back.”
and escape into the bathroom, where,
instead of falling back asleep while sitting on the toilet
which has been known to happen
I can curl up on the couch
which is more of a loveseat really
upholstered in a garish Christmas plaid
remaindered at the furniture store
(my imagination modest at 5am)
shielded from germs and bathroom detritus
by Hermione’s protego totalum spell
of course there’s a soft fleece blanket in a clashing plaid
to keep me warm
No one else can see the sofa or knows that the bathroom
doubles in size to accommodate it
not all the time—
only when it is too early to wake up
—at least in my opinion
and I require refuge