January 2, 2010

American Youth

That first summer my father spent more time
driving to work than he did sleeping,

and my mother wrote postcards all day
to everyone back home, people she never liked,

even they were needed, she said, to pass the time,
to live through the hours we had to fill with

English lessons––every day a new word, then phrases,
and finally sentences that spoke of nothing

no matter how many times they repeated in our ears.
I’d leave the house sometime after lunch

to sit on the sidewalk and imagine
that one of the cars driving by was my father’s.

And everyday there I watched the neighborhood
kids playing, watched them tirelessly until dark,

trading cards with each other, toy guns.
I watched them live out my American youth.

- Alex Dimitrov

(published in Crab Orchard Review, Volume 14, Number 2, Summer/Fall 2009)