Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Those first few summers meant not so many

days at the beach for us, we just started out.

Sundays meant long walks with a baby stroller

on the streets of a small city, always in the 90’s,

always high humidity, always a chance of rain.

Up the street we’d go with a bottle and a diaper.

On the corner was the Eighth Day Lounge with

a pinstriped Yankees car parked by the back door.

Further down, Daisy’s Carniceria with it’s strange

smell of dead animal, we’d buy cans of Inca Kola,

loaves of Manteca bread, or bags of plantain chips.

Down the hill, into the tunnel with the train tracks

above us, the walls dripped and the sidewalk was

painted with pigeon poop, littered with broken glass.

I pushed you up long streets lined with multi-family

homes ,once owned by the richest of folks in Jersey.

Shut down stores, closed restaurants, and factories

now gave way to the Prima Vera bakery where rolls

called conchas piled high on glass display counters.

Sometimes I’d stop and get a Cuban sandwich or a

cup of espresso, but mostly we headed to the place

called Five Corners with a bagel and apple juice boxes.

We’d park on a bench by a sign that said how it was the

capital where colonists and settlers came to market with

their goods here, before it was called the United States.

We’d stop to listen to seagulls screech by the Armory and

look out at sailboats moored in the gray waters of the bay.

I’d speak to the baby, he’d listen, not knowing how to talk,

but he knew how to laugh and he knew how to smile when

I told him how someday; maybe we’d have a boat like those.

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