First Light

Kids my age have questions about the most mundane things—how far is the sky from our heads? And when we stretch our hands high enough, can we reach it? First I wanted to be a pilot, but now I am convinced I’ll grow up to become a nurse and nothing else. I spend my days putting pills into categories based on their colors and I already know words like dementia, seizure, and disorientation. I know exactly what to do when Papa has a seizure in the middle of the night and Mother is at the pub with her singer friends or at the police station for drunk driving. Or at another man’s house. It’s always a struggle at the start but I manage to loosen his shirt and turn him on his side to keep his airway clear. And then I grab a jacket from the back of the door and fold it under his head.

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