Surprise! 2002

Nobody ever saw me. Grandma sat on the plastic covered couch watching TV. I snuck around the dividing wall into the kitchen. I opened the fridge S-L-O-W-L-Y so no one could hear me, bent down and balanced my weight against my toes. Bright light illuminated everything, raising the tension, signifying that there’s a possibility I could get into trouble and that this light has caught me. So I quickly tore the yellow piece of cold meat, flaky with salt and dry dry dry without thinking (it was so common) because I sneaked it so much. It was also late at night and I was alone in the kitchen, so I shut the door and ate it! It was chunky, straw-like and melted in my mouth with every bite. My little white baby teeth punctured the salt and I went “mmmm” ‘cause it was cold, creamy and wrong. It was chicken that never was, but really- raw codfish.


“Did you bring me any gum?” 2002

“Did you bring me any gum?”

And she lightly tossed it towards me onto Grandma’s queen sized bed in the morning. Her waist, jean buckle, pockets and buckles were the only things I saw. I was happy as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep again.

Early in the morning 2002

Early in the morning, the warm orange sun stained the roll up shades and lit the project floors like sweet cantaloupe. It was hot up there. In my dawn, the sun is never orange anymore. Now, it’s white. In the South Bronx we are hot lively people, like the spice in our rice and beans and pollo.

Grandma filled the little glass that was etched with flowing designs with homemade coffee, about a tiny bit more than halfway full. I’m sitting at her table (but the table was really both of ours) waiting for the coffee. I can’t remember sipping it, drinking it or anything of that sort. But I was there, so was Grandma and the little cup is there too.