Parts (Costa Rica)
From the main road the casitas look like huts,
with rough, spackled walls and dark windows that gape
like open, toothless mouths, and with
wooden doors that are not perfectly square on their hinges.
The roofs look half-finished; the pieces
could be held together with bubble-gum and tape
and the chicken wire my dad buys
to tame the tomato plants in our backyard,
every link locked together like twined fingers.
“This is not a home,” we laugh, “and these casitas are unfinished,
and these doors are not smooth enough
to be doors like the doors
We canâ€™t even walk barefoot inside the casitas,
where the tiles were treated with diesel.
We are afraid: “The soles of our feet will stain,” we say,
and when they ask us why we donâ€™t speak EspaÃ±ol, we smile
and scratch the itchy bites on our knees
and tap our heels together, wiring words in Morse code
while the people drift
like they are waltzing underwater
to the strains of pura vida.
Erica Dessenberger is a fourth year English major and Honors student at UC Davis. She is pursuing a double emphasis in Creative Writing and Literature, Criticism and Theory. Recently, she was a Second Place winner for poetry in the 2010 Pamela Maus Contest in Creative Writing at UC Davis.