9773 Comanche Ave
In color photographs, my childhood house looks
fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim
squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
Whose dream was this confection?
This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?
The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
The Avon Lady treks door to door.
Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
squinting in California sunlight,
striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.
I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white),
my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
each palm tree and round "granite" house.
Half a century later, I barely recognize it
when I search the address on Google Maps
and, via "Street view," find myself face to face—
foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted
a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.