Ariel Francisco is a first generation Dominican/ Guatemalan/American poet. He is currently completing his MFA at Florida International University where he is the editor-in-chief of Gulf Stream Literary Magazine and also the winner of a University & Colleges Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His chapbook Before Snowfall, After Rain is available from Glass Poetry Press and his first full length collection, All My Heroes Are Broke, is forthcoming from C&R Press (2018). He lives in South Florida.

Ariel Francisco

Upon Encountering A Street Mural Of Super Mario, I Think Of My Mother

In his classic blue and red overalls, poised to sprint as though he just robbed the bodega on which he's spray painted, he sends my mind racing back to my seventh birthday when my mom bought me an NES, the first Nintendo, already outdated by two successors: the Super Nintendo and the N64. We found it at a flea market, right in that sweet spot between being recently discontinued and becoming a collectors item. It cost less than family lunch at McDonalds (which was rare), but still, I was stoked, especially with the side-scrolling Mario, blitzing through homework and dinner to play every night, jumping Goomba's and Koopa's, bashing bricks, scouring for power ups, always running, always running and always that same message at the end of every level: your princess is in another castle. Sometimes when I'd get home from school I'd find my mom in my room playing before her night shift at a SeaWorld gift shop where'd she sell orca key chains, tacky t-shirts, and glazed alligator heads to dipshit tourists. I'd wonder if she had been at it all day. She got farther than I ever did though I never thought much of it, figured she was just trying to relax before going to work — it didn't occur to me that she was trying to escape, trying to save herself.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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