The Childhood I Am From

Poem submitted by Gloria Salcido

I am from 
Wood-panel walls 
A Bible and notebook left open on the couch Men’s dress shoes 
and boys’ sneakers 
strewn 
about the living room 
A messy bedroom 
Stacks of fiction books 
Magic Tree House and Nancy Drew Clothes in piles 
A clear path from my bed to the door 

I am from 
Bar-S bologna, the kind 
with the red plastic ring 
Off-brand peanut butter and bread Chorizo con papas 
Kix and Life cereal 
from WIC 
Scrambled eggs with weenies 
Kool-aid, if 
we had sugar that week 

I am from 
Making fires to keep warm 
“Don’t turn on the heater, 
the PG&E bill is too high” 
Can’t have friends over 
because the pantry is empty 
Searching the sofa 
for change 
Lemonade stands 
to pay for dinner 

I am from 
“This is an adult conversation” 
And “Mira, vas a ver” 
And “keep an eye on your brothers”
From “so mature for her age” 
And “smarter than most adults” From “beans and rice and Jesus Christ” And “See, God ALWAYS provides” 

I am from 
Family dinners 
“No reading at the table” 
Saturday morning cartoons 
Sonic, Winx Club, Ninja Turtles Brothers trickle in 
as they wake 
Wrapped in blankets 
fighting over the recliner 
and the fuzzy baby blanket 

I am from 
Watching PBS Kids after school Riding bikes 
Hide and seek around the house Lava floors with 
sofa-cushion rocks 
Friday night blanket forts 
Staying up late to watch 
Agent Cody Banks 
Matilda, or Are We There Yet 
all our favorite movies 

I am from 
A vast unkempt backyard 
full of dried grass 
Skateboards left out 
from brothers practicing tricks 
An old doghouse 
that our dog refused to enter 
gathering cobwebs 
Rope swing hanging unused 
because of the spider-y tree 
and the rope too rough 
to hold long enough to swing

I am from 
A rainbow of roses 
peeking over the fence 
from the neighbor’s yard 
Watching the ups and downs 
of my childhood home

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