Mi barrioSalwa C. Jabado
For Nadine I was walking home after circling and finally finding a parking spot near my building, minding my own business these kinds of stories always start like this and this kid, somebody’s grandkid who gets fed what he likes, like pizza and french fries, ice cream with Hershey’s syrup on top and a dollar from grandpa whenever he visits, who are you? anyway this kid and his little kid friends, this kid thinks he’s a real tough how do you know? man, he’s ten now and that’s 5 more than he was when his brother choked him for squealing, but he was 5 and didn’t know better than to tell where was this? mom, that yes, he was watching TV and J.D. went out with some guys for the whole episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tough kid, this kid says “hey miss” and I look, I look thinking this is my neighborhood we’re in, I say good morning to the woman who washes her stoop in a house dress and no socks even in the dead of winter, what is this really about? who used to wake me up with her brushing. I smile at the guy who leans his chair back on my sidewalk his feet up on the park service tree reading all day long every day listening to left-wing talk radio and never smiles back would you? and don’t act threatened when I walk by the guys playing ping pong near the park I look at this kid thinking, this is East Harlem we’re in and I’m not lying when I tell you he says dead on, he says it in a full outside voice not hollering down the street at me or coughing it like a joke behind his sniggering hand as I walk by is it that bad? this little 10 year old shit says to me “Hey miss you have a fat ass” perfectly enunciated, the dream of every English teacher and to my face no he didn’t? and I say, WHAT DID YOU SAY. And he repeats again, full wide boy doe eyes, he says again “You have a fat ass.” And what do you make of that?
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