Friday Poem

Abuela Warns Me a Caravan Of “Esa Gente” Is Headed Our Way

—After Lucille Clifton

if i should
take you
to that spot
by the water
you can’t pronounce
but love
because it reminds you
of Varadero
the fabled Cuban beach
you confessed
to having seen
only once
because the bus ride
from el campo
cost tres pesetas
too many
and as the oldest
of five siblings
you could not
leave the little ones
behind, you
so young
but already adept
at the doing without
of mothering

if i should
despite knowing
this about you
refuse to translate
the menu for you
refuse to place
your order
in English for you
if i should
stiff the blonde waiter
who does not deign
to acknowledge you
of his tip

if i should
ask it of you
would you
finally say

esa gente
son mi gente
esa gente
soy yo.*

by Caridad Moro-Gronlier
from Split This Rock

those people
They are my people
those people
This is me.