Alexandria Villegas: “Bellflower Is My Home”

Bellflower is my Home

I’ve lived and learned to love my home,
a little apartment by the freeway on Palm
Street in a burgeoning city of Bells
and flowers where school
children learn to imagine
different places and different families.

A good and bad place where families
try to make a safe home
that they can only imagine
as they rest underneath the palm
trees while the schools
call in the children with the sound of bells.

The ringing of the bells
wakes the families
in the early morning for school
and work that can’t be done from home.
So parents hold their car keys in their palms
and drive in pursuit of the life they imagine.

Money, safety, prosperity, imagine
what life would be like without the tolling of the bells.
A whole wondrous world in the space of our palms
where Dad is here and we’re a family.
Possibilities in the mind before reality calls home,
but we can’t deny our history, our schooling.

With all of the things I learned in school,
math and science can be taught but not what to imagine.
But in my mind, I made my own home,
where even the din of the bells
couldn’t fracture my family
and our life on Palm.

I’ve always lived in an apartment on Palm,
and somehow, someway I’d make it to school.
Everything I’ve ever done was made possible by family.
My mother, struggling to give us the life she imagines,
trying to make it all worthwhile in the city of Bell
Flower is my home.

Together my family and I struggled on Palm.
We made our home and were taught things at school.
But I learned what to imagine in the city of the Bells.

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