Christine L. Reed


Mom sends you to the bodega for butter,
You come back with lard.
She is sending you back with the block
of fat and a note for cigarettes,
you have my permission to sell my child
a pack of Winstons and a pound of butter.

There are kittens on the railroad tracks and
Hey Chickie Chickie! A bar on the corner.
It's not safe to leave your new pink
bike on the lawn at night.

It's hot when the houses
are too close together. One night
your brother's ball
goes into the landlord's vegetable garden,
The bald man comes out shaking
his fist and swearing at a 9 year old.
Your father is drunk
and calls him an asshole,
now you are homeless.

You say goodbye to the rhubarb,
see ya to the grapes on the car port.
At the end, there are sad hugs for Tony
and Carmen.
Dad will belt you if you look back.

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