Tonight, the Latino grill man sings Kumbaya
while he slops together another hamburger,
as though his singing will rouse God
from his day off and come rescue him…

His faith doesn’t care for history
of field hand strung to trees of the past.
Especially in this town, where the locals
look at him with contempt because
all the plant workers names
end in Gonzales or Hernandez.

And he can’t help it if he knows Spanish
because Mama wanted him to remember
where he came from. Mama who knew
America for its HMO’s and not for homeboys
who’d sit on their porches and watch her pull
clothes from the line while mocking
senorita bonita through beer and Jack Daniels.

Poor Mama, the Virgin Mother can’t save
her son from losing himself to ‘Merica
or losing his life to a farm boy
too ignorant to stop pistoning his fists
when the lil’ Mexican cried out.
I see him slide the burger into a tin foil bag
and call my number, hear him sigh audibly,
as he starts singing, once again
it looks like God’s going to be late.

*** First Published in the [i]Taj Mahal Review[/i]

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