White Oak Road

Mike Chinooga lives at the edge
of the mansions. They rise
over his back yard like neighbor kingdoms.
And Mike’s house is a taupe wad of spit
in their eye.

His mom pulls us in
for pork chops,
beet salad and lemonade.
She has questions
for each of us: football
and drawing class
and negative numbers.

I don’t mean to interrupt
you, Mrs. C, but is Mr. Chinooga
coming back tonight, or can we watch
M*A*S*H on the big TV downstairs?

He’s in his study right now,
, she says. As long as you clean
up your plates, that would be fine.

Before I can turn the channel
Mike says, Come here.

What is it? I don’t want to miss the opening credits.

Check out what my dad brought
back from Montreal.

In his hands is a plastic jumble
of rectangles.

Come on, it’s 6:57.

It’s a movie camera.

No way.

Really. I already hid outside
the bathroom and made a movie
of my sister getting dressed.
I made her give me two weeks’
allowance for the reel.


Well, and then my mom
made me give it back. Remember
three weeks ago I couldn’t hang out?

I stare at the rectangles
then back at the clock.
I don’t think I want to see
my sister naked
, I say.

Ugh. Freak, Mike says, like the joke
is how much he means it.
That’s not what I said.

We start watching just as Hawkeye
is laying in bed, forcing
himself to sleep.

At the commercial Mike looks
at his dad’s stuffed carp on the wall.

God, I hope that never happens to me.

Yeah. Me, too.

Added: January 7, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015