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,
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.