My sister cooks split pea soup-
Chicharos with hamhocks
and potatoes and carrots she buys
Saturday at the open market in downtown.
She cooks los chicharos
in an old pot inherited from an old aunt-
It has traveled with us from here to there to here.
We hang on to things that work such as a good man.
We are living in the middle
of a Norman Rockwell painting.
The children wear baseball uniforms
in the summer and Halloween pumpkins
come early — as early as mid September.
Women, men and children mow their lawns.
They have well behaved dogs who watch
from a fenced 10 by 8.
Sit, stop, stay.
And this is where they have stayed for generations
unlike my people who call home anywhere
the chicharos cook slow
in whatever pot we were able to bring with us.
My dogs bark and do not sit or stay.
My dogs bark and chase the squirrels which taunt them
from the top of our maple tree
and throw pieces of bark back at them.
The squirrels are like our neighbors
who smile at us then call the police
because a dog got lose.
Bob delivers the mail at noon.
The dogs bark at him too.