7 January, 2016
My brother and I still reminisce about the year
we lived in another family’s attic.
For months we dreamt about playing outside
our faces pressed up like needy moths
against the window’s wintery pane.
Every chance he got, our stepfather
reminded us to pipe down, our mother
hinting for us to tiptoe along the attic’s floorboard
as it was still the Midwestern Muslim’s way
not to squander generosity.
Because we did not attend school
my brother and I decided to find stories
hidden between the attic’s cracks,
collecting dust. A story beneath a thimble,
an elbow propped up against a rusted bolt, a catwalk
taking shape along the sill, an epic tale about folk
no bigger than a thumb,
traversing this expansive landscape.
We told ourselves
stories, until the attic
growled with trappings,
our minds becoming little sail boats
drifting us into a tale,
where it didn’t matter
that my brother had forgotten
to bring toys with him the night
we moved into the attic, didn’t matter
that there was no radio or T.V.
We had an imaginary tribe
of people, their tooth-pick spears
glinting, their crumb sized loafs
of bread almost satisfying
our hunger to know
what happens next.