Where we live and the relationships we nurture have a big impact on our lives. Writer Araceli Esparza shares a poem about the adventures and connections made in your neighborhood.
Las Chicas y Chicos de Blossom Street
Door propped open with tree sticks, hanging out on Blossom Street, with one-step stoops,
Welcome to my street. I’m Luz, Luz Maria if you’re formal.
Our days are filled with family news, pretending and playing, and tiny jumps. The day goes by and we dash from one playtime to the next.
Chicas y Chicos are girl kids and boy kids and everyone in between.
This is us, we are like little picture moments at sunset.
I live with my grandma, my lil sister Ana, a blind duck, and my Tío. I like to hydro garden and I’m big on organic compost. They call me mija.
Izzy, my friend, is learning to do perfect cartwheels. Like the sunshine she pokes my eye!
Purple Carrots, spring morning air, and washing leaves. In my sister Ana’s little hands there’s something new and old. She’s a fourth generation piscadora now urbana.
Next door, stuck in their room with Wi-fi, clicking a keyboard, and swishing a finger pad. Junior doesn’t fix mofles he fixes code, night until day.
Upstairs lives Paco and Pedro. Free time, is dress up time, that’s when Pedro wears pink, he banana smiles and drinks atole. Paco prefers green tacos and ham!
When she wants to be like every boy neighbor, Ana plays the latest ultimate game and double dares us to race, she wins most of the time.
With his empty cupboards, half-filled plates, Luis comes over for Grandma’s tacos de jamon y pan, but on Sundays he puts ketchup on his tamale!
Best dressed, with shiny white shoes and tapping toes. Beta has two Papis who swing her over puddles and carry her to pick the blooming lilacs across the street.
Con Los Vecinos, with our Neighbors — we learn how to ride our bikes in the parking lot, together we have a cookout and be like family — none of us are related, still we talk, argue, and laugh like familia.
Okay let’s race, Beta says and her dress flutters against the wind. Ana with holey toe shoes, makes up for time, jumping over onion beds. While Mago, speeds up and stops short at the corner. Her arms are ready for the Olympics. No one told her she couldn’t walk, they told her, she could fly.
Izzy gets stuck on Saturday meetings at the local Centro Communitario. A stand up for your rights Mami equals tag along girl kid. When she comes home, Izzy skips upstairs, finds her friends, to compare drawings on tablets.
The Twin’s place is always busy with parties. Viernes de Quinceneras, Sabados de Cumpleanos y Domingos de Virgincita. Paco y Pedro wonder when will the cheek pinching ever end. Four cheeks aren’t enough.
In the next building over, tight as pea pods, Juan and his three brothers and one sister sleep in one room they call theirs. In their dreams they can be anyone.
He asks me when the beans will come up. Soon, very soon, I show him.
Through the city’s dusty roads, fresh air smell breaks through, against the orange sunset I step off my Tio’s truca to wave goodbye as the geese fly north.
I smile at our garden.
For me, all of them are my friends, we have adventuras, vidas, y laughter!
Somos los de Blossom street. We are from Blossom Street.
PBS Wisconsin has created animation for this poem. To see it come to life, visit Traveling Down the Street: Las Chicas y Chicos de Blossom Street