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
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.