My childhood was a sea voyage,
A barbershop and the ringing of a mandolin,
Summer stars through grape leaves,
Prickly pears and fig trees,
Snails creeping out of straw baskets,
Silence and violence.
My childhood was like a stuffed baby alligator
That swims in the swamp of memory,
Twice haunted twin sisters
Who survived a plane crash,
Playing cards scattered on a table,
Voices shoveling graves.
My childhood was a broken accordion,
A wine-press pressing the sun,
Chinese faces at the market,
Hunting rifles behind glass,
Dried eel at the fish store,
Rain of motherless time.