After reading Wanted by Martinez
Dear little brother,
Do you remember when Mom sat us both on the pink living room sofa
and wrote down our phone number and address on two blank note cards.
One for each of us. Smiling: Remember these, darlings. This will keep you safe.
Held mine in a white fist. We were six and seven, so I’m guessing you didn’t realize
that La Mesa, our street, is a Spanish word for table. Like meals, on Tuesday, always
with fired rice and tiny shrimp. Mom insisted we put corn on our plates. Dad was never too
far from the medium salsa. Little brother, your favorite day was always Tuesday, Taco Tuesday.
Do you remember? Or have you forgotten all the little parts of you Hispanic, bigot little brother of
mine at that dinner table with tortilla chips between your teeth fighting with Dad about ESL’s and
their encroachment on our land. Little brother. Have you forgotten landed on this doorstep in
wicker baskets? That someone advertised us in the newspaper. That we can’t see any traits in
our faces. Have you already written your history arian with a brunette green eye’d glare.
You two are Heinz 57, Dad always said. Even though I hated catsup. Mutts are those
dogs in the pound that can’t recognize their mothers, I told you in the park that
day as we watched them fight territorial. Growling, flaring teeth. Why can’t
all these animals get along, your five year old voice asked me. I was six
so naturally I knew best and I told you: they are unhappy with them
selves; I told you: they’re too scared because they might love
each other, little brother.