Painting of Some Childhood
I am looking at a picture of you and me:
You are eating a popsicle,
and I am holding two fingers in the shape of
bunny ears above your head.
The camera cannot find my eyes from behind
the glare of the sun, but I think I see them say
something like I love you.
You had made me cry that day
killing a lizard on your bike -
but then your mom brought popsicles and
soon I had forgotten.
It feels far away to remember you the same as me,
to think of what our lives were like
before they diverged to two
Roads all seem to converge at dead ends when
I am riding my bike close to home;
I wonder what it’d be like to be one of those kids
whose only dead ends are cul de sacs,
the ones with the palm trees and the golf carts,
the ones whose mommies drive by sometimes
in the electric blue station wagon
as we play basketball in the parking lot.
I wonder if I should ask her if maybe she’d know
what it’s like to have free
Will you shut the door please,
as steam pours in from the kitchen -
I cannot breathe.
Shut it all the way
and don’t look back;
you mustn’t let the ink bleed through the crack.
Here, soak it up with this paper -
yes, the one whose words you say will seal my fate -
it’s all I could find.
Today I wonder
what it’d be like to live far from here,
in the city,
with the colorful neon signs and the tall buildings
and a real kitchen, instead of the cracked sidewalks and the flickering
Lights screwed with weak fluorescent bulbs glare upon the waiting room from above -
we don’t notice. We’ve forgotten where we are.
You say that nobody has died, yet you insist that we wait here longer.
You said it’d be fun,
but I am just tired.
I should have listened to Mommy when she told me
not to hang with your crowd - with the kids
who pretend that pretzel sticks are cigarettes
and ride around town in a shopping cart
because they’ve lost their metro
Pass the peas, please -
careful that they don’t fall upon the table
and smear the flowers printed on the tablecloth.
They are beautiful and expensive, Mommy says,
but I do not care. The flowers are not real.
They smell like soup and not like roses.
I wonder if they are ever sad
that their lives are all
Lies gush from your lips -
you aren’t fooling anyone.
I know you killed the lizard,
his body is hanging from your fingertips
and your bike tire is smeared with his guts.
I told you not to close your eyes as you rode,
but you said that it would be more fun if
you didn’t know where you were going.
When it is my turn, I do not listen.
I cannot trust the bike like you do -
Mommy would yell at me if I crashed it. Only
sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to close my eyes
and not worry about the lizards lying on the sidewalk