Guest Poet: Lucy Umbarger Elementary

Martha Silano

This is Trump country I say to myself,

turning right on Rio Vista, left on Skagit

into a muddy parking lot. These

must be the ones who are angry

the teachers have placed a sign on every door,

puerto. Because a notebook is a cuaderno,

a nurse an enfermado. The teachers

are mostly white, but everywhere

there’s encouragement: You got this, sister.

Take this moment to remind yourself

you’re awesome, everywhere salmon

heading upstream, bulletin boards

plastered with A+ papers and tests.

In Mrs. Agosto’s fifth grade class,

the children write odes to artichokes

and avocados, an increasingly-bruised

banana. Madeline calls me over to her group:

Can I have this yam, like, to eat? How do you

cook it? On a stove? Words unloading

from her mouth like cases of canned goods

at the food bank: We’re living in our car I’m

hungry we have no money can I have it.

Red carrot, she had written. Elf hat. Viking’s horn.

It is as if you came from an underground universe.

It was a fat worm, orange poop, unicorn horn,

but mostly, Mr. President, it was food.


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