My favorite poem right now is by my favorite poet. “Here” by Aracelis Girmay. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of poems or little stories inside me that could also be called “Here.” There’s something conjuring and infinite about that word.
Here is where I look both ways before I cross. Here is every street. Here is Sesame Street with Big Bird holding a little girl’s hand inside Big Bird’s thick yellow-felt glove. Here I am after school with a steaming bowl of top ramen noodles in the middle of my lap, legs crossed, head bent over blowing into the bowl to cool it off before i slurp. Here is my brother coming from behind with an ice cube to plop into my bowl. Here I watch as the ice cracks and dissolves into the broth. Here I sit on the dark yellow carpet staring up at the television with a part down the middle of my head and a braid at either side. Here is 22nd Avenue if I look out the living room window, down three stories to watch Erin’s door across the street to see if she will come outside to play soon. Here is my mother leaving a quarter for me on the kitchen table in the morning so I can give it to Erin’s mother every morning before school starts to pay for the bowl of instant oatmeal, maple and brown sugar, that she will make for me. Here is the hall outside my mother’s bedroom quiet and dark while she sleeps after coming home from her night shift at the hospital. Here are her tired eyes closed as she leans on her side in the bed. Here I am tiptoeing through her room to get to mine because I forgot my notebook. Here my mom calls to me in her tired voice like the soft creak the back door makes when I open it to climb the ladder up to the roof even though I am not supposed to. Here is my mom wishing me a good day in her sleep. Here is the other side of the bed at night, the side that no one talks about anymore. Here is the side I climb into at night when she is at work. Here is where I teach myself not to kick and thrash around in the bed anymore while I sleep so she will not notice I slept there. Here is where I learn to lie still on my back and wake up in the same position.