No Songs About This Childhood – stephanie roberts

for Dante di Stefano

You know how it happens. You’re reading a label
when you realize you’re sporting an ear to ear
having recalled the same accents of immigrants,
Aretha Franklin, and commuter travel.
I grew up on a Tree Named Street too, during an era
of block parties, Run DMC, and the Sugarhill Gang.
What little energy god gave this poor night skin
was spent getting the fuck away from there,
and man, did I—migrating from Spanish to English,
English to French, where I floundered like un poisson
out of l’eau. If you’re not a child, I don’t want to hear
about your childhood. I couldn’t find mine if I wanted,
not with these threadbare wings, ligature marks,
belt welts, puffins in the basements of Brooklyn,
and sprained wrists from the steep climb from
the crab bucket. Can you imagine? Me and my laughable
upper body strength. Lack in privilege got evened up
by mordant humor and gold canine-tooth-ferocity
that wasn’t taking no for an answer. The past
is ready for my close-up tweeting for a hot spotlight
but nah. Let sleeping dogs stay the fuck down, says I,
or, you haven’t lived till a fiftyish construction worker says,
in stunning Staten-Island-emphatic, if it ain’t broke

stephanie robertsstephanie roberts was born in Central America, grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now abides in a wee town skirting Montréal. A 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee, and emerging artist, her work has been featured in Verse Daily, Atlanta Review, Arcturus, Crannóg, The Stockholm Review of Literature, and L’Éphémère Review. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales.