804 Parkman | Noukou Thao
Our houses board
In ghosts, they hold
When I was little my cousins and I played
War. We pulled grass from the dirt so that
The roots wore down the earth,
We threw it across two yards.
It settles in the other camp’s
Territory, a grenade.
In the crevice of memory, we are forever alive in
This sea of games.
Every town we live in
Country: this nation of
Barefooted children and
Eight elementary schools,
Never a chance for college.
We live here, in this ever expanding
Field of clapped homes, duplexes,
Fourplexes, crammed bedrooms
Filled with bags and bags of underwear
And closets full of shoes, hallways
Dirty with handprints, rice morsels.
The smell of spice
Permeates our bodies, the gardens
Never ceasing, the slaughtered chickens
And eggs put beside our cribs.
Our hearts always
Moving across an alleyway
Of gravel, where we picked up
Rocks and made them
Pieces of games.
Now this neighborhood isn’t ours
Any more than the hill above Concord
Street is ours.
Now the block has been knocked down
And a store is erected, selling life-size pork rinds,
Which we eat in a beef stew.