my father raised me
by Chloe Firetto-Toomey
for the first seven years.
I remember sitting on his trumpet case watching him
jazzing valves with apple cheeks.
Moss, skipping the drums, throwing a wink.
the room full of heads tapping, smoking.
Nintendo had just come out
he’d play Mario, I Luigi
in dueling rocking chairs, his was wicker, mine, Carebear.
Lunchables, peanut butter celery
reading rainbow bright and
falling asleep to the sound of Dolphins, Pittsburg Pirates, peanuts husking.
Marijuana smoke spooling through my bedroom window-
unidentified until age eighteen when the smell took me
back to odd socks, orange and pink-
his hands ad-libbing a loose braid.
The time he caught me peeing standing up
polkadot dress up to my chin-
the feeling I’d done something wrong.
his face when I got an F in math
but his voice a soft C.
Born in Bristol, England, my mother is English Sicilian, my father Irish American. Having duel citizenship I spent much of my childhood traveling between Bristol and Miami. I graduated in 2006 with a B.A in Creative Writing from the University of Surrey, London and moved to Miami in 2008. I’m currently in the first year of the graduate program at Florida International University where I hope to obtain an MFA in Poetry.