I wake at the edge of the bed, wrapped in downy-scented Mickey Mouse blankets,
Arms pinned to my side.
I know I started out at the center, squished between Mom and Sister,
Who gave me warmth that only they could provide.
Mom’s lavender perfume sticks to my pillow.
The ceiling fan wheezes as its blades turn.
Outside, cars whiz by, and light wastes away, sinking into a hill.
The lullaby of ice cream suddenly beckons me—and already I reach for my piggy bank in my
Dresser, surrounded by a mess of underwear, glittery rocks, and sea-beaten shells.
But my hope gets crushed when footsteps burden the old stairs,
And Mom’s hushed voice echoes in the hallway: Con, xuống ăn cơm.
I inhale an errant waft of fresh rice.
I am the youngest in my family.
Every day I waited for An and Dan to come home from elementary school. Living in a small apartment, the three of us shared a room. My mother would combine all of our beds and we’d take naps together. I remember feeling so safe during this time, surrounded by my family, and I never wanted to leave. I was always the last one to wake up, and I’d lay in my bed and listen to the whispers of activities going on around me, which soothed me like a mother’s lullaby.
We had to write about a specific place in our first poetry assignment. I couldn’t find one that stuck out to me, so I thought of the times when I felt comforted and loved: in my bed in Apartment Four on Scott Road – back in the old days.