[Monkey bars]

My mother asks me to call when I arrive
at Rose’s house twenty houses down Sheridan Street.
When we play with a hose and blue dye
from my shorts bleeds down my leg, I call my mom.

[Dandelion necklaces]

A house used to stand in our backyard. The shattered windows
scatter the gravel pathway, scarring the bare soles of my feet
as I chase after the neighbor’s cat’s meow. We heard
there had been a fire. I wonder if grass and girls grow faster in ash…

[Learning to write a letter]

Begin my moving your hips, Mariella tells me.
Good! Now speed up like you are a tire swing.
You are bomb about to explode and this
is called the “Boom, Boom” dance.

[Ancient Egyptians]

Mariella’s sister was once handcuffed
to the metal fence in front her house by a boy
she called her boyfriend. I’m thinking of her as I jump off
my picnic table holding an umbrella hoping to fly.

[The Thanksgiving Day Concert]

At Mark & Jenny’s house, we are cutting off the tops
of plastic two liter bottles, adorning them with pastel colored
tissue paper. We will light them, hold them like lanterns,
walk around like we have tradition.

[Pretending to be a sailor]

Saturday night I lie in the red bed my mother
shares with my father, staring at the street-
lights slash across the ceiling as cars sail by,
sleeping with eyes open.


I tell my mother that the gray old woman who lives
at 42 Sheridan Street is a witch and she is tapping
on my window, beckoning to be let in. It is a dream.
Five years later, I read in the newspaper:
her husband was found in a trash bag under the bed.

[Raspberry Jell-O]

The man at the Sunoco station changes oil and
waves at my grandfather walking to the post office.
When he can no longer speak, my grandfather takes up
the thumbs-up to mean hello! goodbye! and I need a stamp.

[Theatre class]

My sister and my grandmother bond over their love of
General Hospital. In my grandparents’ overheated apartment,
VHS tapes stacked in teetering columns chronicle the love stories
of Sonny & Brenda, Luke & Laura, Lucky & Elizabeth…
I imagine we are all on a strange show about psychiatrists.

[Velcro sneakers]

I refuse to go to school until my shoelaces are retied so that each
shoe is equally tight. Insist on a letter from my mother promising
she will pick me up from school today. Too loose.
Roll me down the front steps, let me fall the steep slope
of the street, land at the intersection of Gray and Gray.