Sujata Datta

Making Family

My best friend, my cousin,
though more like a sister.
Back in Franklin Square in Boston,
we practically lived together.

We’d play the stair game,
warily avoiding the twelfth floor
where the mean old “Popeye guy” snored.
And we’d play Pretty Pretty Princess,
which I would always lose.
“You cheated!” I would accuse.
But once we reconciled,
we’d go to the playground downstairs
where we learned to ride bikes,
and decided there was oil from China somewhere…
(Under the sandbox.)

Almond Roca was like ambrosia.
During a road trip the whole can would disappear.
We were “chocolate monsters”
destined for Sesame Street it appeared.
Chuckie Cheese was our oxygen,
though I admit I was a little scared.
But now instead of Helen and Jasper,
we go see Johnny Depp and Katherine Heigl
with soda, popcorn, nachos, candy and ice cream to share.

Or we drive to Rockingham mall,
stopping at Pip’s and the dollar shop on the way.
We typically spend more money there
than at the mall anyways.

Summer entertainment consists of
throwing egg-like water balloons.
Half of them breaking before they fly.
And going on the Slip n’ Slide like buffoons…
(We’re definitely getting too big for it.)

We play pitthu or horse,
kickball and football of course.
Sleepovers every weekend,
talking really late at night.
Or laughing so hard our moms get annoyed,
and tell us laundry is something we should enjoy.
And that we should definitely vacuum
the war zone we call our room.

Apparently, we’ll soon look like fat cows
considering we don’t eat our vegetables.
So we go to the YMCA…
Then stuff our mouths at Panera bread,
still in our exercise clothes,
looking like hobos that have never been fed.

We blast music in the car
while driving to Bertucci’s or Taco Bell.
Or blare music
while putting on makeup and getting dressed
for a party.
Since we run on Indian time, we get really stressed.

Even in public where
people tend to stare,
we love to dance.
Why not take a chance?

I love my cousin for several reasons.
She’s my role model,
and my accomplice in the ridiculous things we do.
My dance partner everywhere,
and my traveling companion too.
To Quebec, Orlando, Killington, L.A. and other places
like Niagara Falls…
(Three times.)

Now here’s a little secret,
that I haven’t told you yet;
she’s not really my cousin.

“When you come to a country with no family around,
you better make family with the friends you found.”
At least,
that’s what my mom says.


Copyright 2002-2008 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2008 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.