Literary Art

Jaiden Price

Next Door

My friend next door
A soul I have grown to adore
Pretending to be princesses on the playground
Folded multiplication table worksheets as our crown

Playing tag in the classroom
Dance parties up in her room
A post-homework ritual that became dear

An unfamiliar holler becomes near
Capturing glowing eyes and swapping radiant smiles
Words gather but quickly hide in extensive piles
A peace offering— a flat tortilla and tender-embrace
Voiceless communication, spoken language could not replace

Downstairs awaits beans, rice, and cheese
Her mother teaches me with ease
Fill the middle, fold the edges, and tuck the sides
Telling stories about Mexico, they’d be great tourguides

At dinner I sit amongst an unknown symphony
But their unity assures I am in good company
My friend whispers in my ear what her family is saying
They are sending love my way and praying

She takes my hand pulling me into the kitchen
Then quickly cues her cousins to pitch in
Spinning each other to Mariachi
The music takes over— I disembody

A honk outside pulls me away
Yet I knew that would not be my last stay

The clock chases its hand
I begin to understand
Colors, numbers, animals, places
My growing Spanish brightens their faces
Dancing in the kitchen was merely training
Hand-in-hand at her quinceanera we were reigning

Caps fly high at graduation
Wind blows a nostalgic sensation
A key still lays under our doormats

For we can always learn from each other and that’s that

My friend next door
Means so much more
Two unlike households both alike in dignity
Celebrate their uniqueness in complete unity

My family next door
Culture and love shared forevermore