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  You could have a big dipper   

Self-Portrait as the House We Lived In by Sara Henry Paolozzi

Here are three children, two boys and a girl, three blonde heads bobbing down the steps of the school bus, six blue-gray eyes scanning the front porch for their mother’s blinding hair, three children bouncing in the hallway, their bellies hungry, their mouths open and filled with noise, three children who had a tidy day at their private school, who munch on fish sticks, who smack their hands against the glossy staircase, who screech and laugh and fall down and get back up again, children who are miserable, spoiled, pungent, who ask for too much from their mother, who need to know that she isn’t their butler or their cook, that she wasn’t put on this earth to serve them, children who are silent as lilacs, who hide in the lilac bush in the yard, who hide in closets, in bathrooms, inside their own little bodies, children who are hugged and kissed and covered with mother-love, who are the best children on earth, who deserve to be toasted, who are mesmerized by the color of wine, deep and dark as a cut, children who feel nervous when they look at their mother’s face, changing, children who ask questions about their father, about where he is, children who won’t come closer, who don’t understand why they are so frustrating, or how they ruin nice things, how they ruined a nice life, children who are ugly, who don’t wash their faces or brush their teeth, who don’t open bedroom doors, who won’t open this door right now, who huddle on a bed covered with expensive sheets, the best sheets money can buy, children who hear a voice like thunder, like the blender on the high setting, children who wait for what is happening to be over, for their house to be quiet again as a wounded animal is quiet, who sleep locked together like a tessellation, who become beautiful again in the hours of the night, as their house becomes beautiful again, covered in sunlight and breakfast smells in the morning, their mother’s face shining behind the stove, all the love that never really left filling the room, filling their bodies more than food ever could.


Sara Henry Paolozzi's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Autofocus, The Adroit Journal, Booth, The Cortland Review, Hobart, The Superstition Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Austin, TX and is at work on her first novel.

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