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already outdated by two successors: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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