River Toad

The glasses on my face are too big 

for my head, which in turn, is too big

for my body (or so I’m too often told.)

My father’s skin is like mine but darker though.

I wipe my eyes and wait for him on the damp concrete.

My mom says he will be home late tonight. 

Teenagers walk by and make words 

with both their mouths and their hands. 

I tried practicing the words and now 

I have to tell my father when he gets home 

(but he works late tonight.) The air is

warm and dirty and wet and feels like

being in the blanket my mom never

washes.  I want to cuddle in that blanket 

with my mom but I have to wait on the damp concrete 

for my father to come home instead. Water collects on

the dented green dumpster by the car port. Oh! Sometimes 

there are tadpoles in the brown puddle underneath. 


I investigate even though my mom says 

I’m too curious and some things should not 

be explored. But her skin is not like mine

so she does not understand. Underneath the dented

green dumpster is the River Toad but no tadpoles. 

The River Toad does not like me.

He has a fat body and mean eyes

and dry and wet at the same time. He

calls me pocho and pinche poche and other things 

I’m not allowed to say like trying to make

words with your hands.  I think it is great that

the River Toad learned to talk

but I wish he would be nicer to me

especially since I am waiting for my father

to get home and I am in trouble just for trying to talk

like him.