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.