California Skies

I saw myself in the California skies

somewhere else

where I was not

Half-hidden darkness and half-hidden gems

in a southern middle class suburb

We walked to school

and envied the neighbor’s portable television

that occupied the car where our friends watched morning cartoons

as their mom directed street traffic in her blue uniform

No celebrities

except the ones we highlighted in our minds

the girl who played softball like a champ

I couldn’t even catch the ball in our own backyard

Dad tried to teach me but I could never get it

Piano too

I cried in frustration

My dark bangs and protruding belly

ugly in comparison

to my golden-locked neighbor

who had a stomach like an Olympic gymnast

She was the daughter of the mom

with the portable TV

But she wet the bed

and I always felt like a stranger

in her house.

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