I’ve been enrolled in many schools and lived in various towns, but if I had to choose my favorites, the ones with palm trees would top the list. I attended third grade at Thomas Jefferson elementary school in Honolulu and went to a high school of the same name in Sonsonate, El Salvador. At both schools, the classrooms were connected by breezeways where students could escape the monsoon rains or the burning sun. Tropical fruit was available in abundance, and the people and cultures around me seemed exotic and fascinating.
In Honolulu, I walked with my brother past a golf course and small shops and watched cartoons after school. In Sonsonate, I walked from the town square with my friends past three Catholic churches. After school, I watched Sesame Street, the only show I could understand.
Years later, after a breakfast of tropical fruit, under the palm trees of Santa Marta Colombia, I would take a taxi with my husband and daughter to another school, where we would watch her dance. Today, in Tempe, we wait under the university breezeways below the waving palms, and she is still dancing.
I leave hometowns
like half-tasted bonbons,
scattered like fall leaves.