Highland Park

When Johnny was born, we moved to Highland Park
on Mesa Street. The life of it: a corner barber shop
& a Carrows. We never ate there. Mom spent her calloused
feet at a factory job, punching tags for Wet Seal.

At home, Dad sought loose cigarette coins, dis-oriented
under the couch skirt. He even spread plastic covers
like rice paper on the carpet, afraid of losing the rent deposit.

Johnny & I expected the ice cream truck that accepted Food Stamps
straight from its booklet around 7:24. Never thought
it was probably illegal then. No real money,
like when Dad & his brother ran away from a food truck, thinking
the burgers were free, until people started paying.