(excerpt) Broken Sidewalks

The basement is everywhere.   A corner houses shelves of limping cardboard, labeled by some thin marker zigzag that can’t be read because there’s no light bulb over there.  We call this the dungeon and sometimes it’s where Barbie goes when she’s mad.  I give the pink corvette a push and she sails into the scary shadows.  In the corner by the steps, old sheets and sleeping bags are weighted down on ledges and chairs, some twisted and knotted around the metal poles to make forts and rooms.  I see all the lace and concrete finery in the Snoopy sheets; in little padded nooks, my lipsticks and mirrors shine.  Pink high heels swallow my feet to the ankles and jewels hang heavy in my hair.  The space where we couldn’t get the sheets to reach is the gap between worlds.  Above the webbed ceiling sits dad in his rocker, chain-smoking to Deep Purple.  But down here anything could come at us–monsters, princes, Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing.  The trees from where the wild things live loom over us in colored pencil scratches.


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