The pink-tiled bathrooms and velvet robes have been traded in for
patched-up aprons and flour-dusted hands.
Where names were once stitched into lilac silk,
the phases of the moon are inked across collar-bones.
The wives drink wine from mason jars,
prune their ferns and poplars.
The children sing to the sidewalk songs
of plagues, and they think not of sickness
but of their mother’s rose gardens.
The fences are white and the houses yellow,
and if you listen hard enough
you can hear the plunking of piano keys
and the thunk of a knife against a cutting board.
The tea goes cold on cracked counters,
but what is colder, and more worn are the soles of their feet
which tread hard-wood floors and gardens every day.
The hands are tired, the faces like bent cardboard.
They have not forgotten their so-called golden days,
you should not think that because of their now dimmed ways.
For when they look at the kitchen sink at night,
they see glitter and smoke and homemade dynamite.
They use to smile and laugh,
now they just nod and tell their children
that the chalk on the pavement
depicts something interesting.
Still, living is still a thread in the aprons.
It is hot showers and the sun through the boughs of the orange trees.
It is the chalk on the pavement
and the children falling over in a circle,
their laughter blooming higher than the magnolias.
For, you see, one day,
the party girls grew up,
and they moved to Mango Street.
Read my poetry collection Essence of An Age