Thursday, December 22, 2011

store, in spanish.

Jennifer owns Palm Street bodega on Main Street

An island where block boys
Turn cubes in brick weather

And bricks
Aren’t always synonymous with a high
But a heaven

A chess piece slapping
Heineken having
Almost gentrified dream

The same playground fingers that grab twenty-five cent Cheetos bags
Flip birds
And tell papi who flips sausage, egg and cheese’s
They’ll pay him next time

C&C, quarter water guzzle
Trying to use sour power straws, like real ones
Metro cards taped to the counter
Fly with the open-door wind
Weekly’s only

But daily…

The neighborhood ain’t the same
Starbucks the new high and a deli,
With two floors and wi-fi
Buildings erected sky high

Jennifer mourns her domino-effect memories
Sitting humbly on an almost foreclosed home’s porch
Bills stacking on the porcelain fifteen year old table

Bought on the birth date of a teenage daughter
Who writes short stories of loss
In the writing class I teach
With figurative language:

My mother of pearl withers
Her shine, watered down
With a drawn store gate
A for sale sign
And ghosts of what used to be

Can everything go back to normal? Everything?”

I ask her if her mother will be present during parent teacher conferences
If she’ll place her pointer finger on her work that adorns the wall
A scarlet A, encircled by a teacher’s approval
I am excited for those that she loves
To see her excellence

She says they’ll be moving to the shelter today
Ain’t no time for that
Just brick weather
Watching the bank hammer a sign into their lawn
The bodega block boys helping moving boxes
The little playground fingers waving goodbye
Jennifer, her mother, standing in front remembers the sounds…

Children’s laughter
Car screech
Slapping chess piece

Knight takes queen