Childhood

Manuela Speciale
Childhood Manuela likes to write spoken word poetry and fictional stories. Her poetry is about her childhood and in her fiction, she likes to explore many different types of stories.

“I am two years old.
Inside the car is dark.
My mom turns on the lights.”

                     

Lerici

 

I am two years old.

Inside the car is dark.

My mom turns on the lights.

My dad opens the door.

I finally found the entrance to life.

 

I am four years old.

I woke up to the smell of delicious blueberry and fig pie.

I am trying to sneak up

To grab a handful of candy.

 

I am six years old.

We carpool to the countryside.

Ready to jump into the pool.

I am chubby, in my one-piece.

 

I am eight years old.

Waking up by the sounds of gunshots in the air

Is not very pleasant.

But almost getting attacked by a wild pig

Is frightening,

What an experience to have.

 

I’m ten years old.

Claire is snoring above me

And I hate it.

No sleep, at all.

Yawning all day.  

 

Now I am eleven years old.

Nothing has changed.

My skateboarding teacher was my grandpa.

First attempt: absolute fail.

Second attempt: getting there.

Third attempt: success!

 

Nothing has changed.

The houses are the same.

Some of the names have changed

The names of people and shops.

But the pool hasn’t.

 

I will be 75 years old.

And I will always see myself

Going to Lerici.

 

The Child of Romeo and Juliet

 

I started learning English when I was two.

I’ve lived in Taiwan for my whole life.

I don’t remember the first word I learned.

All my friends speak English.

The languages I know:

It’s easier to speak English

The writing is easier in Italian

Taiwanese is easier when you speak Chinese

Taiwanese is the dialect of Chinese,

What aboriginal people speak in Taiwan.

2 million people in Taiwan

More than half of them are aboriginal people from the mountains

A few people in my grade are from China

And the rest from Vietnam or the other Asian countries

Taiwan used to be called Formosa

Long time ago, I forgot from which country,

They came and called Taiwan “beautiful island.”

But Verona was my Dad’s hometown.

That’s where Juliet’s balcony was

Every night Romeo used to go under her balcony.

Their parents didn’t like each other,

But they were in love.

I know the story but I never read it.

The first time we went to Italy,

I was very tiny.

He’s told the story many times.

To be both Taiwanese and Italian

Is an odd combination

But I think it’s kind of cute.

My dad’s last name is Speciale

And my mom’s last name is Lin

So my friends call me Specialin.

When I come to America,

I get asked a lot: “Do you live in the neighborhood?”

And I say: “No, I live in Taiwan.”

People are surprised I speak such good English.

Whenever I go anywhere,
I already know what’s going to happen.

When I travel, border control

Checks all my passports

People usually have one passport.

It takes those people 2 minutes,

For me it takes 5 minutes

For my two passports Italy and Taiwan.

My Italian passport still has my babyface.

My Taiwanese passport is my 10-year-old face.

So then they double-check that it’s actually me.

People behind me will complain

But it’s not my fault.

My parents were just like Romeo and Juliet

Their parents weren’t fighting

But they came from opposite sides of the world,

Which makes me the child of Romeo and Juliet.

 

Miss Dalmonego.

 

I had just finished sixth grade.

My teacher is Miss Dalmonego

Well, she was my teacher…

Until she left to Nepal

She did not look big, strong and powerful

But believe me

Her strength for teaching is as powerful a

Thousand intelligent nerds marching across  

Our books

She made us wonder

She brought us guests

Who helped us water the flower of knowledge

She brought us from northern Taiwan

To the South

Helping me understand how to ground my roots in my birth country

Her words are as important as petals to a flower

They start small, but as time passes they grow in importance

She encourages us, and holds us up as we grow

Like the stem of a flower

She helps us decorate the structures and vocabulary for our essays

Like leaves on a stem

Once again

I’m so thankful for Miss Dalmonego teaching me and supporting me all this way.

 

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