A is for the acknowledgement, in a hello or a glance or a nod, that we both live here, you and I. You are the fellow dog owner, the skateboard commuter, the homophobic street minister, the young sister not playing fair, the father recovering from a stroke, the runner, the elderly woman with the always empty grocery cart.
V is for vice, evidence left behind in melting paletas puddles, condom wrappers, and rawhide bone fragments on the sidewalk.
O is for the dissonant ovation of chirping birds, buzzing flies, and Kennedy traffic punctuated with a crack-bang-boom when there’s something, or nothing, to celebrate.
N is for nonchalance in the strut of the wayward rooster, the gaze of the sovereign shepherd, and the sway of the stars and stripes on their poles.
D is for the dispassionate houses of shingle and brick that stand sentinel against those who would learn their secrets, abetted only by humming air conditioning units in their windows.
A is for the attention-seeking flowers that halt brisk walks with a flash of rose origami or the candy heart smell of exploding hibiscus.
L is for the latticework of alleys with their garages and garbage cans that tell stories of brothers restoring a car, a house being prepared for a new baby, a squirrel licking clean an avocado peel.
E is for the elbow grease that readies a house for sale or repairs the broken water main or throws the newspaper against a door with a satisfying thwack while the neighborhood sleeps.
Avondale is the essence in which my thirtysomething years steep, brewing an unhurried allegiance that is pleasantly hot and bitter, for now.