Gala Mukomolova

Valentine's family arrived in America a year after mine. They live in our building but
it's far. After school he comes. We do homework in the kitchen; I don't have a desk.
Papa makes dinner, kotletki, and our hands get greasy with meat.

The bedroom I share with my parents: mahogany veneer queen, dresser, and vanity.
My bed's in the corner, grey foldout chair covered in lightening bolts. We rub Barbies,
we play teacher and pupil, we play whatever I want. Valentine annoys me.

Valentine scribbles I will not bother girls fifty times with my #2 pencil because I said so.
He doesn't mind. He has to practice his English. My purple turtleneck fits him fine so he
wears it home. I like seeing him in it. I like knowing it's mine.

Valentine's number feels good in the rotary, purrs after every turn. The cord curls around
my finger, that's nice too. All the girls at school say You have such nice boyfriend.

I tell them: He can be your boyfriend too, ask.

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