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Poem-a-Day

Tot Finder

TOT FINDER

In the lower left pane of my boyhood
bedroom window was stuck a silver sticker
of a fireman carrying a barefoot boy,
unconscious but alive, out of a burning house.
The house was ours and the boy was me.
Even as I lay in bed I was being saved
on some night soon to come.
I hated that sticker because I knew that
thanks to it I would be the sole survivor,
doomed to live on in fear of fire,
touching the doorknob with the back
of my hand before turning it to enter
my first-floor apartment, where I would sleep
with a fire extinguisher at my feet and test
the smoke alarm above my bed obsessively.
Some nights, unable to fall sleep in its glare,
I tried peeling the sticker off the cold glass
with my fingernail but it was like trying
to peel off a mirror to spite your scarred face.
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