The Winter of My Childhood
Before writing, before toys, I used to draw stars.
Mami sat knitting me a sweater, advising
from time to time how to make an angle.
Politics on TV scratched at the screen.
Babi listened carefully, his body stiff, upright.
But I kept drawing, trying to perfect the stars.
I saw a gold star over a black two-headed eagle
on a red flag. Big men and women rose up
clapping: Long Live the Labor Party!
Mami, thoughts under her glasses, kept knitting.
Babi listened pale on the edge of his seat.
And erasing stars, I drew them all over again.
That year winter threatened our small house.
I heard winds howl, but I had drawn enough stars
to burn in the stove to keep us warm.
“The Winter of My Childhood” first appeared in Imagination and Place Anthology: Weather, March 2012.