Virgen De Guadalupe Candles and Hope
I observed them with affection at the grocery store.
Large, multi generational familias,
Dark skinned, light skinned,
cafe’ con leche skinned,
Filling their grocery carts,
with the most interesting things.
Papayas, melons, and beef tongue.
Sopita, arroz, y frijoles.
Virgen De Guadalupe candles,
Gallon bottles of Fabuloso,
value packages of 48 rolls
of toilet paper.
Charcoal for barbecues.
Tres Leches birthday cakes
adorned with glazed fruit,
seemed to be a popular item.
many of the same items
I purchase for my family.
In the past, they were so friendly,
quick with a joke or a smile,
always offering me a “con permiso”
if they accidentally walked across
I could reach out my hand,
to softly tousle the coal black curlies,
under the ribbon festooned head,
of a sweet princessa, baby girl.
She, sitting in the front seat of the grocery cart
happily munching on pan de huevo or a “cochito”
was a conversation starter.
I have noticed.
They shop quickly,
no longer making a Sunday afternoon
a weekly family affair.
No eye contact.
I find this so painful,
that I have cried.
Families are left at home
“just in case”
the head of the family is detained.
Stripped of dignity.
Robbed of hope.
Thrust into the terrifying maelstrom
known as “illegal immigration.”
I hope they remember my smile!
Oh please Senor!
Oh please Senora!
I am not one of the hateful!
I understand that the majority of you
come here to take up the work,
others find too distasteful to do.
I am not the hypocrite who eats the food
they picked and prepared.
I don’t allow them to work in my garden,
pay them under the table,
then suggest we
turn blind eyes south and
“let them work things out on their own!”
I went to the grocery store this evening.
It was like a ghost town.
Quiet, aisles free of laughing children.
Not a sign of Las Comadres gossiping in the front entrance.
It may sound foolish or melodramatic,
but a tear ran down my cheek,
I couldn’t buy a thing.
My guilt so cloying
running so deep.
My sorrow so crushing.
I am so sorry
I live on the same side of the man made border,
with people who just don’t give a damn
I will pray.
I will take action.
I will fight.
Maybe one day,
not next week,
but one day soon,
I will see you again,
we will smile,
as our eyes meet
when we both reach for
Virgen De Guadalupe Candles
All Rights Reserved
Rosa Valencia Sanchez
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