by Hannah Drew-Moyer
I stand tall on the carpet-bag time-out couch.
Hold my head high and do a kangaroo bounce.
My small feet dip into old worn fabric.
My mouth opens into a wildcat cry.
I know that freedom is six minutes away.
Big sister says lions get time and a half.
She sets the timer for nine more minutes.
My six year old brain can’t do math.
A monster made of disbelief grows in my stomach.
I let out a powerful scream. Time keeps slowing down.
I cry for mercy and am offered a rare alternative. I am intrigued.
I plant my tired feet on the wood floor, take my sister’s hand,
and follow her to the kitchen with quiet anticipation.
She stops; gestures to the mighty plateau at eye level.
A plump red orb sits high up there.
It smells of dirt and sunlight as she plops it into my hands.
I spread my pencil thin fingers wide to hold it all.
She offers one tortuous bite for my freedom.
She’s tall and thin and smiles a wide smile.
There is no bitterness behind her eyes, as I expect there to be.
Tears roll down my check because she’s smart and time-out is torture
and I don’t want to bite this awful tomato with the yucky goop inside.
She takes it from my outstretched hands.
Five more minutes, she tells me.
The couch smells of laughter and tears.