Sandra Benedetto: Where I’m From

Where I’m from,
the neighbors’ yards are Capture the Flag territories
and our lawn never wears out,
even where feet run bases and push off swings.

Where I’m from,
the street marks the basketball out-of-bounds
and the curb is the line of demarcation
between bare feet and jelly shoes.

Where I’m from,
we wash the Buick in the driveway
and the water cools the sun-soaked asphalt
just enough so you don’t have to hop around the car.

Where I’m from,
trees are jungle gyms and hiding places
and the bushes yield red berries
for a potion that I peddle to reluctant customers.

Where I’m from,
we only come inside to get a baseball glove
and in our hurry still see sunspots
as we run back up the basement stairs.

Where I’m from,
the cicadas come every seventeen years
and fly at you like DeathStar asteroids on your bicycle
or make a squish-crunch noise on the sidewalk.

Where I’m from,
a bicycle is meant for two or three
and even though our parents say we’ll break our teeth,
handlebars and pegs are our carpool lane.

Where I’m from,
the doorbell is the telephone
and it’s an invitation to come play
because even if the streets are flooded someone wants to swim.

Where I’m from,
my dad tells me to look west before the sun sets
and says that’s where the wildfires are in California
so we stand there and I believe the pink-orange sky is burning.

Where I’m from,
my mom calls us inside for dinner
and we talk around BLTs and corn on the cob
while the cat weaves figure 8s between our legs looking for bacon.

Where I’m from,
my sister puts her arm around me
and my mom takes a photo before we walk down the block
with sharpened #2s in our backpacks and new shoes on our feet.

Where I’m from,
the trains that rattle our knickknacks
and the planes that leave trails over our heads
remind us that the world awaits when we’re ready.

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