My Dutch relatives don’t understand the Spanish bandied about in El Elegante barbershop, or why Los Dias de Muertos is celebrated at Cesar Chavez Elementary. They look to their shoes instead of the young Poncho Villas hanging outside the doorway of Canita’s hip hop store. They drink Budweisers at Coctailz advertising POLASKI DAYS & FREE POOL. Aunt Isla used to toe the line on the these curbs during Memorial Day parades and shape dough into windmill cookies everyday of the week. The ’57 chevy is still crammed into the lobby of John & Sons Used Cars and Body Shop. Names loiter on neighborhood signs: Sommerdyke Plumbing; Van Raalte and Tulip Streets. Ivor would warn, borders lead to vulnerability as Island Latinos keep the bus stop bench between themselves and the Mexicans. Ivor would say, “Beware amigos: just past the Dollar Store and Four Star Gas Taco Bell keeps its drive-thru open late into the night.”
Over the Hills & Far Away
After Robert Rauschenberg
Many are the moves my ballerina makes, her leg in white tights, a steeple rising from hip, past ear and pointing to a world without end. These words ring like the church bells of my past. My father standing behind the podium, potato juice instead of water in his glass. My brother asleep in my stepmother’s lap. But through the riddle, not the narcotics I found myself, far from evening’s visible moon, in my seventh summer, walking backwards with my eyes closed on Shook’s farm, lost to dusk, the blood of strawberries. Tonight, lying on my back looking at the sky, I wonder when did we stop dropping our jaws at the sight of jumbo jets releasing their white thread into the wind and the sunset.
Over boiling rapids black starlings cloud and undulate in patterns: mottle on Petoskey stones,
black cherry stains -- my shirt, your mouth.
-- Aaron Brossiet has poems published previously in The Mac Guffin, Sky Magazine, Mudfish Magazine, and online at Redneck Review. He also won the 2010 Literary Life Bookstore poetry competition judged by Heather Sellers and was short listed in the 2012 Fish Short Memoir Prize judged by David Shields . Currently, he’s an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Texas El Paso.