Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tidal Wave

When we first moved to California
I dreamed about a tidal wave splashing
through the west window by the kitchen table
I remember my family being taken by surprise.
The house covered in salt water
and when the wave rushed back to the ocean
we were wet but still standing.

The fact we lived seven miles from the ocean
meant nothing regarding this dream
maybe it was a premonition of things to come.
A happy, connected family, overrun
with the pressure of a new town
submerged into a new culture
trying to fit into a place where the neighbors
gossiped because when we moved in we were
too Catholic, too brown and too many.

Florence, the old lady next door,
was a nasty thing, she did her gardening in her bikini top
wearing short shorts exposing her wrinkled skin.
Mother asked her not to reveal herself to her children.
The old lady was offended but after many years
came to love my mother and would do anything for her,
including dressing more modestly and not cursing
in front of us and taking us places if we needed a ride.

Her children's names were funny, Fritz, Miles, Donna and Tanya
they fought over her belongings when she died
then sold her house. I don’t even remember who moved
in next door because I moved away shortly after
and lived my own life far away.

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