if 100, then 150
on a bus
we head for the waterfalls

falling in and out of sleep
i look out the window into the dark night
and fall in love
with everything
i cannot see

i don’t know what time it is
but it’s late
and most everyone is asleep
or at least quiet

but my father stands up
from his seat at the very front
and turns to face the rest of us

he is a silhouette
a shadow that i can love
as his shadow arm raises
and his shadow finger points
toward
a place in the blackness
that we are supposed to remember

*

my parents were gone
and i hid in the bush in front of our house
while the other boys lured all the stray dogs
up our driveway and into our back yard

when there were enough
of the dogs
of us
we chased them back out

and i jumped out of the bush
with a broomstick
and swung it at the dogs’ legs
tripping them
making them fly
tumble
break
down the steep driveway

there and watched
as the dogs lifted themselves up

whimpering
frightened
and limped and ran away

i was 9 and there was something that i wanted
and it was growing inside of me
and there was nothing i could do
to stop

*

my mother excitedly urges us
to join her on the rooftop

the moon, she says, the moon is huge tonight.
the biggest of the year.

i ask her
when she first embraced magic

and she reaches for her keys
and shakes her head at father

his jaws clenched tight
on the couch in front of the tv

what is magic when there is faith, she says

on the rooftop
she embraces the light
and offers me her god

and i say
no this needs to be magic

and i say
no this needs to be time

*

we touch down on US soil
we are taken to Santa Monica beach
I don’t remember having seen the ocean before

there is the touch of sand at the bottom of my feet
I look up at the sun
and suddenly I can’t remember my name.

a hand pulls at my arm
this is skin on my skin
he wants me to run against him

I tumble into the sand
he pulls away toward the finish line
and stops to tell me to keep running

but i don’t rise into the air
and instead watch him cry
as he promises to make me whole