—The DelRay Sun
When we moved in, if you weren’t
sitting in school or paying for pizza,
you were hibernating.
The school and Pete’s were the only places
along the main drag that wasn’t.
One year, we plodded through snow
to eat at the diner off the highway.
Then when spring came a Mexican
restaurant opened up. We could mosey
down to the drag and eat tacos
while a man meandered from table to table
singing and strumming classical guitar.
Suddenly we had options, and it didn’t take long
before we were tired of tortillas.
It was about that time we named our new dog
for the neighborhood contortion.
Adolescence brewed promising independence:
local hardware, video, pharmacy, cheap eats.
But years later I came home from college and kids to find
a street fair full of pumpkins and hay, live music and business.
As a new father, I could hop from the school
playground to a cup of Morning Go
to the consignment shop for cheap baby clothes
before marching my kids through the Halloween parade.
My neighborhood had morphed itself at last.
I can work for a dot com, take yoga classes
and stride by the neighborhood radio station.
Old-style street lamps light brick sidewalks instead of concrete,
and government green street signs are replaced with fancy.
All this and not a single high-rise.
Sure, across the highway, railroad tracks
were torn out to make room for Target.
But I smile when I go home for a visit and know
I can eat Mexican, Thai, Indian or Afghan.
And I can still head to Pete’s for a pizza slice.