How He Got This Way

Did the Delaware cul-de-sac teach him he’s a Sad Sack?

The neighbors had big lawns and lots of kids. After dark they threw crab-apples at bats that dove from beech trees. But it was just dusk when McCormick, the youngest, ran in front of the bull’s-eye painted on a hay bail.

Bud, the oldest, was sorry to say he’d dipped his arrow in poison lemon juice.

20060509_poison-arrow

Fear of dying—Bud said he would by morning—was overmatched by shame over what he’d let happen. It was fitful 4am before he called Barbara and Bill to his room and said goodbye.

 

Unsheltered

Sarah. My sister’s daughter. Like a sister to my daughter. June.

Visiting, from the Inland Empire, with her father. On their way to Thailand where he will give a workshop. Sarah says, After Poppa teaches his class I get to ride an Elephant.

Among my sister’s last wishes, Sarah should see the world, of which quite a bit is displayed here on the C train.

Sarah and June cling to the pole in the center of the car.

Why do I hear so many languages? Sarah asks.

New York, June answers, shrugging in the way our town has taught her.

Crowded_Subway_Car_iStock_Imnature

Where the Love Is

Grandparents are different from parents. Grandparents never get mad, but they are very worried if you go a few feet into the ocean with, like, even a tiny wave coming.

I have a Yiayia and Papou and a Halmoni and Haroboji, because I am half Korean and half New York.

Daddy says some of me came from him and is Greek. Crazy right? There wasn’t Greek in mommy’s belly.

Parents make you say sorry when they get frustrated. And sometimes they are sad.

Mommy cried a lot when Imo (Aunt Sue) died. Halmi and Harbi never even say her name.

IMG_7640