I have ten minutes. My English teacher Mr.Glenn always said never to numerize a number that you could spell. So I’ll place ten here instead of 10 in honor of him. I was born in St. Mary Corwin Hospital in Pueblo County beneath the purple mountains that I sing about at military balls with golden anchors on my lapels. My mother is Kristine from Omaha, Nebraska. She knows my every feeling before I say a word and is the way she is because of her nursing mother and a psychologist father who became an odd jobs father after the world pushed Boystown out of his hands and into a field. My mother is painfully optimistic about the world and its people and my father loves her for it. He used to hold me like an arm bar, and his name is Carlos. He flew alone for the first time when he was five and saw his father for the last time aged seventeen. I love him very much. My hair grew straight and black, and was cut by him in our blue tiled bathroom amid shadows of a ponderosa pine, and a cottonwood that he hated. I went to Catholic school in a building across from an MS13 tag with a bronze puma guarding my favorite book about Mufaro’s beautiful daughters and a garter snake that turned into a handsome king. I wore black buckled shoes and liked a little girl named Ella Davis which I would not realize until I was sixteen. My sister was too young for my school. She went across from the hospital in the tall tower with the metal fire slide and the first kiss tire. Her teacher Ms. Peggy was pug-like but Ms. Gloria was beautiful and Ms. Tracey had a tasmanian devil on her ankle. We lived in a green house where a pink crabapple bloomed each spring that was it not blocked by our neighbor’s RV. When our Texan neighbor moved away, I clumsily put nails on the driveway to pop the new people’s tires convinced it would make them move and she could come back. My sister and I rolled our bikes down the way to watch Hannah Montana with a little girl and her brother who could blow snot rockets, and we would fill our bike cache with pinecones because Mr. Ron and Mrs. Sonya said we could. I was mean to a new boy because I thought he said “I love you” when he really said hello. Already I was averse to clinginess. I was wearing a blue dress my grandmother had found me and remembered Robin Hood with foxes before turning my nose up at him. I was mean to another boy whose bracelet is still in a lined drawer of my jewelry box. It is easier to write about this than the roadtrips and John Candy movies over boneless prairies and humidity settling between rotting leaves. I had ten minutes.

Olivia Rivera is an undergraduate student studying International Affairs, Naval Science, and Writing. She values poetry as a way to explore nuanced human relationships and as a tool for autobiographical writing. Olivia draws inspiration from her childhood in Pueblo, Colorado and experiences that have allowed her to embrace her identity and independence.

University of Pittsburgh. PA Digital. http://digital.library.pitt.edu/islandora/object/pitt%3A20140523-visuals-0117.