One Job


Child of poverty

Child of immigrants

Doesn't know any other world until it's time to go to school

In Boyle Heights, you're just like everybody else except maybe not as brown

Living in your abuelita's garage doesn't seem strange to you

In Oakland, you're a little different, but everybody is different colors anyway

An apartment!

You have more room to breath, your own tv and furniture that isn't a hand-me down from cousins!

Go through the tunnel

Suddenly there are rich people

Rich white people

White people give your mami a job taking care of their children

Our first real house!

You're old enough to take care of yourself at home and besides, they only work when you're in school

White people become your friends

So strange, how they use such strong words for so casual a meaning

Love, hate

Hugs for friends, mean words and cold stares for being different

No way, you're too pale to be a Mexican!

Beaner neener neener!

They taunt like the cruel children they are

Mami is a nanny, papi works as a carpenter... sometimes

Mami worries we don't have enough money

Papi worries there isn't enough beer

Mami and papi split up and divorce when I'm halfway through high school

I'm afraid

We lose our house to fore-closure and we move from a four bedroom house back to a tiny bedroom

There isn't enough money

I don't go to university

I go to a community college because I am afraid

Never enough money

Mami scraped up enough to buy me a small car

I saved enough to buy a slightly better one

I still haven't left her side

There still isn't enough money

Now there is another mouth to feed

My brother is only two years old

I am 21 years old and if my mami loses her job, we lose everything we worked for

We lose our home

We lose our food

One job may change my life


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