Poem 63

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. 

3 thoughts on “Poem 63

  1. It's supposed to look like a house. I hope you guys can tell. I love my little brother dearly and this is really all a metaphor. None of these things happened. ❤

  2. Oops. I never would have seen the house if you hadn't pointed it out…

    I like it! A couple of the transitions (vv. 6 and 13 ) seem abrupt to me, and I don't understand the bit about the catsup, but I liked the parts I did get. Can you explain the catsup part?

  3. Sure!!… Heinz 57 is the catsup (Katchup) brand we always had in the house. Since my brother and I are unsure of exactly what our heritage is, my parents always said we were a mix of everything, a Heinz 57. That idea comes up in that same line again with the mutts.

    The idea is that, being from the west, we likely have some hispanic in us. If you're interested you should look up Wanted by Demitria Martinez. I've made the first line a link to another blog showcasing the poem!!

    thanks for being curious!!

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