(From Ascent Towards Madness)
In our backyard, those weren’t our pollos,
but they laid their eggs at random in nail buckets or trees
or in one of the many puddles of muck they didn’t have on the hill.
Bradley and Samantha got to walk to their escuela,
(Paul was still a baby that year.) but I
had to take the bus to my school on the hill.
We ate candy cigarettes from the corner tienda.
and rode bikes all afternoon as the wind brought the scent
of living and dying fish from the hatchery on the hill.
The rains brought floods to the barrio,
but Steve still drove our recycled church van
down River Road, while they stayed dry on the hill.
I bought socks at a yard sale and returned them the next día.
Juan gave me my fifty cents back and laughed
at my childish audacity. His niece attended my school on the hill.
Jennifer taught me Spanglish and lived across the calle;
in her uncle’s truck we did things kids don’t do—til Bradley jealously
ratted us out. Mom and Steve announced we were moving on the hill.