A 9-year-old’s Secrets
Daphne Guzmán
Photo by Deborah Guzmán

Friday night – party at Aunt Hilda’s – my mom
laughing and chatting.  Hilda cooking spaghetti
Neon orange stubby pasta, speckled with green
olives the way only a Dominican would like.  The merengue
comes on and everyone goes
to the living room
to dance.  I sit on the couch
stapling my eyelids open
watching family blur pass me
in time.

Around 11, I’m so tired I go  to Jussed’s
bedroom and lie down.   Not without my mother’s coat.  Not
without cold car keys pressing hard in my hands
letting me know that if nothing else
she cannot start her car
without me.

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