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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"


By Tony Gloeggler


Italian ladies draped in lace
placed coins in collection plates,
lit green novena candles.
German Shepherds sniffed
the wooden crutches, nuzzled
against my leg braces. Mothers
grabbed their children's hands,
whispered, "Don't stare."
When they walked away,
I flipped them the finger,
shut my eyes and turned
my braces into airplane wings,
my crutches into machine guns.
I swooped down, fired
round after round and flew
home with my thumbs raised.
I sat on our fire escape
making no sounds and trying
to blend into the background
like a spy. I imagined it was me
picking teams for stickball,
hitting Spaldings two sewers long
and racing around the bases
like a skinny black kid.
Nighttime, I slipped under
the covers with a flashlight,
wrote in tiny notebooks. Careful
not to let my pencil scratch
against the paper. Afraid
someone could see that speck
of light, read my words. Afraid
they had ways to make me talk.

First published in pearl

Article © Tony Gloeggler. All rights reserved.
Published on 2018-12-31
Image(s) are public domain.
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