Real stories tonight, she says, not/made-up. Like what I did, summers when /I was her age: ---From “Real” by Luisa A. Igloria
(For Chloe and Louis)
Something about a canopy of stars
and the darkness among the pines
must turn them into giggling elves
traipsing among the lantern flies.
Bugs with lit tailpipes, he calls them.
She stifles a guffaw, shushes him:
you will wake the hungry bear up.
Would you want to wake up inside
his swirling stomach? He whispers
under the tangled sheet: tell me more
stories, real ones this time. About
how you and abuela stopped a bus
while crossing the street, and she
gave the yelling driver her fat finger.
Here we are, imp of a brother grown
beyond those yarns. Will you tell
your own boy---raucously laughing
all by himself in his dimly lit tent---
the same grandmother stories?
“Once upon a time,” will not do it,
they grow quickly beyond that.
Why not lull him instead with one
of grandfather’s hammock songs?
“When you talk to these trees,
they will always answer you: Close
your eyes tightly, we will sing to you.”
Here we are, imp of a sister, plotting
lullabies by campfire, when sons beg:
Will you tell us real grandma stories?
---Albert B. Casuga