Read Poems by
The Melting Pot
The humid air sweats streaming curls down the toddler’s flush cheeks like Fusilli hot from the stove. The golden ringlets cling to her forehead, bouncing like Slinky’s in front of her, blue-agate, eyes. The backyard’s sounds-bat cracks and wise cracks-surround her. Squeals echo from the mounds of loam behind her new house. The homes out back form a red, yellow, blue, green monopoly board configuration.
The sand box she sits in is full of scrap two-by-four blocks. Using a naked purple-haired troll doll, she attacks the pine-block castle, tumbling the battlement. A plank spans the puddle
(created by the leaky green garden hose). The barefoot tike, troll in hand, starts across the board toward the moonscape of mud mounds; where her sister and friends run screeching armed with rotten tomatoes. She almost makes it before falling in and running mud covered to mother.
Polish Catholics, Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics, lived side by side with English Presbyterian’s and we errant, runaway, Jews. The scent of tomato paste, knackwurst and borscht wafts through the same soupy air, where we play King of the Mountain. Big Boys and Plum tomatoes flew indiscriminately through the August air like missiles. The only thing which stopped the action was the distance ringing bell of the Good Humor truck, here on Cherry Tomato Alley. Here where each new neighbor had transplanted themselves: their children, their gardens, their sprinklers, and their cars to fulfill the American dream.
First Published in Melancholy Hyperbole Spring 2015