Bare walls and rolling down hills, climbing
back to the top for a tumble. Holding 4th of July sparklers,
ghosts in the goblin. A picture of tension I never
had is recognized in pumpkins of memories. My mother holds
her breath, my father exhales too loudly.

These are her people.

There are valves that release
and close off blood that ties us together in times of
inconvenience, insecurity, and unreason. I am inside the currents
of her joy and surrender. Her desperate need to
empower me shines on the surface.

He mows the lawn to break away fallen leaves, to leave the
women to their kitchen talk. He is outnumbered in his
old age. A woman is missing, I am standing next to her footprints
in the home she never abandoned. We sneak cigarettes in the
carport. She hands me the lighter, asks me to ash
like a lady, we laugh. I wish her ghosts away from her
neverhome, haunted with the joy and unreason of
her people, my people.


Happiness Deli


Amin is behind the counter,
gold teeth and long curly hair, a rockstar
mustache. Latin boys walk in, Amin says
hey, Frankie, mi amigo, como estas?
Frankie says, bien, bien, turkey hero. Amin makes
it for him. Cop walks in, says Ma’assalama,
Amin says Ma’assalama. The cop asks for some
more lessons on Mohammed, Amin explains
and Habib makes all the coffees. Old black man
walks in, says, what up, homes. Amin says,
hey, what up Holmes, ham sandwich tonight?
The man says, nah, Yankees lost. I can’t eat
tonight. Amin understands. Crazy schizo named
Lucky walks in, selling a radio from 1985. Ten bucks,
works and everything, he says. Amin tells him,
no man, thanks, we got radio here in Happiness.