My Philadelphia

June 6, 2008
By Mollie Rossi, Havertown, PA

My inner beat rises from Southwest Philadelphia streets,
my childhood tangled memories of my parent’s stories.
Cradled in the arms of Dewey and Grays
they weaved vivid words of young and careless days.
Stories like warmed wax trickle through my ears
where they snake and slither then harden inside the indented canals of my brain.

Though I was not there I swear I can remember:
the cats that come and go,
sliding through garbage-greased alleyways,
the Kentucky Coffee that shielded torrential rains.
I know the pain of a father lost too soon,
the miniature soldiers camouflaged by garden plants,
a second family that provided refuge.

My own stories are still ingrained deep inside,
so clear my senses are overwhelmed and I trip back to older times.
Never will I forget the claustrophobic
musty smell of a row home with decades old cans of tomatoes.
Rarely do I still feel the unadulterated joy of that came with the arrival of an uncle
and the pizza that was sure to follow.
I raise my head and I can still see my brother high above, and I tag along
winding through the oddities of South Street.

I’ve been raised by Philadelphia.
Soon I will rise from Philadelphia,
but its blood still pulses intertwined with mine.
As long as I respire those ghosts will still perspire
fervent through memories of city streets.

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