I am twelve.
I am wearing a shirt my mother helped me iron this morning,
crisp and striped.
My body smelling of soap, soft to the touch.
Hair freshly washed.
I am standing in the National Portrait Gallery,
cradled in a large empty corridor.
There’s a warmth upon my shoulders
from sunlight falling through floor to ceiling windows.
Dust is floating in the air,
threatening to make me sneeze.
I wiggle my toes in my shoes, basking in their newness;
the marble floors clean and reflective.
My father is spinning my brother around in his wheelchair.
They’re both laughing,
filling the room.
This is preserved.
Sam McParland is a student at the University of Maryland studying Secondary Education/English, and writing for the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. Sam spends her time teaching preschool and singing for UMD’s choral department.