Oscar Mireles

Ypsilanti Xicanas - Poem by Oscar Mireles

These Midwestern rucas
educated chicanas
who were being mistaken for arabs
all the time
talked about coming up to Michigan
for la primer vez
as migrants

They had us
sitting in the schoolhouse gym
covered the floor with plastic
like a large diaper
to catch the lice or something

They used the old country
schoolhouse method on us
lumping 9th graders and kindergarteners together
just to obey the law that said
every child shall have an education,
even migrants

She remembered watch TV one night
and seeing a documentary on migrants
this young mexican boy
was asked what he wanted to be
when he got older
he said he wanted to be a doctor
because his mother was always sick
and he wanted to help her
the announcer paused
and faced the camera
holding back a tear
he said that only one
in a million migrants
would ever have the chance
to become an educated professional
and that this little boy’s wish
would probably never come true

and she started to cry, remembering
when she finished law school
and having all that happiness
that she could not share
with that little boy
who picked onions, tomatoes and peppers
but no chances.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, January 8, 2006

Poem Edited: Sunday, January 8, 2006

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