Washington Avenue This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


I find it hard to believe,
The world still turns
On Washington Avenue
Ina condemned house
Of Italian culture
And cracked marble
Smooth likeRome,
An essence of ragged avocado
Flows through the junkyard air
With the rusty heat of still languages.

As a child,
I was afraidof the wolf-dog
That roamed the premises,
Pacing along the chain-linkfence,
Husky barks reflecting
The great uncle
Who lived inside thedecaying house.
Shouting insane,
He was always barking out
Englishcurse words
That he did not understand.
My great-grandmother
Livedamong the filth
Of priceless trash and clucking chickens,
Always twobrown barrettes in her hair,
Tinted green from the years of agony,
Smiling and calling me a bambina

I never knew her withteeth.

The world still turns
As I find it hard to believe,
Betweenall the fighting and arguing
Dulling the mind,
I found solace in thestuffed elephant
She gave me.
It smelled like cats.
I never forgot theFourth of July
At my aunt's old apartment complex,
When my unclecame
Wearing a black speedo and a clear trash bag
Over his head of greasyblack-gray hair.
He was an extra in the movie "Tin Cup"
And hestill wears the wardrobe
For every holiday.
Every holiday he brought uspresents
In fast-food bags,
And silverware from Denny's,
Wads of wet50-dollar bills
Hidden deep in his pockets.
One day my great-grandmotherbecame sick.
They took her to the hospital
Where my uncle ate all herfood
And took sponge baths for free.
He caused a disturbance
And waskicked out of the hospital.
A few days later she died
And the fightingnever stopped.

As I find it hard to believe,
The world stillturns.
We went back to Washington Avenue,
Sifting through the remains
Of92 miserable years,
Going through her possessions
Hidden in cracker boxesand panty hose.
But my uncle kicked us out
Because he wanted everythingfor himself.
At Christmas he tried to give me her shoes.
He tried to givemy brother a broken flashlight.

We never know when he's going to show up.
We never know when he's going to turn up dead.
He still lives onWashington Avenue,
Shattered Italian culture and broken marble
Weighingdown on his crippled manhood.
Empty trash cans labeled "The City ofHouston"
Feed his disease. Rusted refrigerators and

buckets fullof brown water
Clutter his spirit. The many years of being away from Venice
Drive him beyond the limit.

All he does is complain
All he does ishoard and hoard
All he does is cut down my mother
Because she is halfGerman

The world still turns
And I find it hard to believe
He is apart of me.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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