Celeste Gainey: i always wanted a bird

Vox Populi

a sombrero, cowboy boots, and button-up jeans like a boy;
a coloring book history of the United States, a burro (not a donkey),
a mother-of-pearl accordion; the ceremonial Indian headdress, the bamboo spear with the big rubber tip, the ochre dress with stripes going the wrong way; my father to stop drinking, my sister to protect me, my brother to disappear;
a hickory deluxe burger & chocolate chip shake at Petersen’s Drive-In, spare ribs & potato salad from Puppo’s Delicatessen on my birthday.

I always wanted a canary:
the best grades in the class, white buck saddle shoes, Kennedy for President;
to be a tennis champion, save my mother from my brother, be the Governor
of California, head of Time Inc; to not be fat, to be better at math, escape
to boarding school, ride my bike casually, tan easily & live on the beach at Malibu;
in a penthouse…

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