Four siblings and then, one.
And I was the comma.
Two older boys,
two older sisters,
me and baby brother.
Hand me down toys,
hand me down clothes,
and a neurotic mother.
Small wonder, then,
that I was lost in the bustle,
a little half-Mexican boy
overlooked in all the shuffle.
Always coats and shoes,
never going without food
they did the very best they could
with an overweening brood.
Still, to feel an after thought,
as though you do not matter,
it can warp a young child's mind
into damn near a mad hatter.
Six kids and a former POW for a father,
a controlling mother who was a complex martyr,
slugs in the kitchen and roaches in the larder;
these explain why, for me, joy is so much harder.
Now mostly dead and gone,
they are ghosts who care no longer,
and yet the I, the comma, still remain,
pausing breath and blowing stronger.
© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012