The heat wakes him,
reminding him of the work ahead in the cacao trees,
the long hours
in the hot sun.
The sweat runs down his forehead.
Sometimes he wants to stop working
because it would be easier,
but when he walks through the door
he can hear his son's voice
as he tells and retells stories of his day at school,
what he learned,
what he liked,
what he didn’t like.
This was his life,
everyday, wake up, work, come home.
One day, the cycle stopped.
He didn’t wake up.
His wife and son cried
and without his income,
his son had to quit school.
His wife grieved and cried
and she knew her son couldn’t get an education now,
but she wanted him to stay
and the day he told her,
he was leaving to go to the big city he said,
“I am a little boy, but I can fight for you, so don’t worry.
Mommy, I will be leaving tomorrow morning.”
and she replied,
“Son, goodbye. May God take you there.”
In the heat of the morning,
the son walked out the door,
got on a train,
and left towards the big city.
She nevers looks to the back of the classroom
where I hide behind the girl’s ponytail.
The smart kids sit in the first row.
I guess it’s good I hide because
in second grade
the moment she called on me
my heart sped up.
“Read the page, please.”
I couldn’t do it.
The words blurred together,
and the blackness filled the page.
Anxiety got the best of me.
I couldn’t speak.
I learned to look like everyone else.
I could do what the other kids did,
until the day I had to read to a kindergartner.
She complained at my lack of fluency.
She corrected my pronunciation and grammar.
At that moment I realized,
I was worse than a kindergartener,
and no one cared.
day after day
My inspiration for the poems comes from these two true stories.
The Regents of the University of Michigan
“Success Story: Alison”
May 18th 2015
“Poor Boy: A True Story”
Saturday, June 26, 2010
May 18th 2015