Nena de La Luna 212
There was a time when mattresses served as trampolines; Centerpieces in fields of rubble.
Gasoline perfumed the air, garbage bins large enough to conceal hosts of sins still smoked Plumes on the wind from last night’s bonfire.
Plastic tops scattered rainbows dotted the slate of the concrete landscape.
A small stick, tapped along railings and fences kept time with the rattle of chaos growing inside
A growing honey haired, olive eyed girl.
Looking out of the 8th floor window over stacked red bricks and glinting glass,
The Empire State Building winked red, white and blue from the left.
The Taino Towers frowned heavily to her right.
Beautiful brownstones lay below, in disrepair stuffed to the brim.
Cousins, tias and the boy too slow to play with right, but knew he liked to touch girls.
She: Victorian house dreams, Park Avenue hopes, Viejo San Juan memories,
Belvedere castle Princess, flying over Central Park, sailing across the Hudson River,
Running across the Willis Avenue Bridge, into the Bronx,
She: Landing plane, fresh green scented mountain beach carefree, amidst coqui symphonies.
Into windows she'd peer, wondering whose feet she could see in the blue flickering light.
Where those attached to the toes in the dark apartment across the courtyard happy?
Were they in danger? Shouts erupted from time to time. Were they dangerous?
Life for them was different from what they had seen on TV.
Papi never came home after a hard day’s work, with a peppermint stick, calling her Half Pint.
In the pitch of El Barrio midnight, street lamps made presentation of empty cars.
They had been places she would never go, carried people whose names she'd never know.
Backlit red, brown and tan squares concealed stories behind cheap roll down shades.
Stars twinkled dimly here where the congestion of technology robbed them of their magic.
Opening the window as far as she could, she leaned forward from the waist.
Feet hooked into the thick metal bar leading to the radiator, half flying.
Leaning over the windowsill, arms open to the navy wind.
Running her fingers over the rough between the bricks below like a guiro.
She thrilled at the thought that one had ever touched them before. Just her.
How come there was no graffiti under the windows? They were so easy to reach.
Forward, she leaned, if she could touch her nose to the…
A gust rustled her dangling tendrils. She looked up, as if someone had called her name.
"Little girl, where do you dream?," the Moon asked.
"Between my smiles and tears," she replied into the dark.
© Jani Rose. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 10 April 2015.