Daily Archives: August 25, 2014

Syntax

Originally posted 2/8/2013.

Side by side
is how we say it now

that we have been 
assimilated but when we were kids

side by each
is how they said it

in Woonsocket, in Fall River,
in New Bedford.

Here, we park the cars side by each.
You pass over my house, you stop on me, eh?

Does anyone still
throw the baby downstairs a cookie? 

That’s how they used to say it.
Our immigrant grandparents learned English

as a substitution code.
We called them Meme, Pepe, 

Ava, Avo, 
Nonni, Nunna.

Never Grammy, 
never Gramps.

Long gone is the syntax
we once mocked

and now wistfully repeat to incredulous offspring 
and outsider friends

even as nostalgia, that mind killer,
comes to us muttering hate about 

abuela, abuelo on the streets
in Social Coin now,

about the butchering of the airwaves
in Faurive and New Beige.