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  • Samantha Hoch

Little Tin Houses

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

Kicking over roly-poly pieces of rubble

in a rocky moon-crater dug deep by the

gas-guzzling, soot-spewing, giants

that peeled the landscape of our playground

and used crumbling buckets of it to gentrify

other neighborhoods in our town.

We gripped and flipped rocks in a race to see

who can be the first girl with a writhing

snake wrapped around her hand, or maybe even

a little found treasure like

the arrowhead I bragged to you about

that slid between layers of finger;

drew blood and a childish whimper,

in the swaying amber grasses of the ridge

that hid both my shame

and bleeding hand.

Sometimes we disappeared

into the whispering edges of the wood-line,

like that time when the new kid,

red hat on the wrong way, swinging a stick at the air,

showed up with his Levi’s and unfamiliar gait.

In the winter we shoveled driveways together,

Five dollars and a treat

for each,

mostly I sweated through the labor while you

laid in your purple snowsuit, flailing arms,

rosy porcelain face to the sky;

tongue reaching toward it.

I didn’t mind the work, or splitting the money;

you had no concept of it anyway.

Growing up without privilege

in the run-down rows of gravel

littered with tin cans and little tin houses

was a concept that eluded me;

I had the privilege of sweet summer days,

blonde hair, freckles and Kool-Aid stained lips

and snow-blanketed winter nights

with hot chocolate and you; the angelic miniature of

our free-spirited mother, and a mythical

father that didn’t exist.

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