You say street, and right away East St. Louis rises up--
my period started there, my serial falling in love.
My dog was run over on that street
but the eminent milestones of my life--
did not happen here, they turned up on other streets.
This is the street where I first encountered perverts,
where my mother beat me when a boy
walked me home,
where my father was always glaring,
no matter what he was up to--shaving,
planting sunflowers, breathing--he glared.
I think he hated me.
Otherwise it was an ordinary street.
Yet I remember it more easily than the venerable
streets that followed.
The scent of soft tar.
Racing Tommy to the Notre Dame locker room.
The football team's moist, slabs of muscle.
A joyful Saturday in Theresa's grandmother's attic.
She found a suitcase packed with holy cards
and shared them 50-50.
I laughed a lot on that street. Almost every day.
My little dog was run over there.
I know I said that but it keeps coming back.
After school, I had to walk past the ice cream store
but never had the money to buy a cone.
It wasn’t a street where I had all I wanted
but when I walked it, I expected to have it all someday.I fully believed I would become the Elvis
of my generation.