November: New York

 

blue lights illuminate the low hanging fog
outside, the cold pierces through thin jackets
a mother takes off her scarf and wraps it around
her small son
pushes his curls out of his apple cheeked face
and tells him “Estamos casi en casa”

F train should be here soon,
rumbling through station after station,
Queens bound
the platform over ows with rush hour commuters
escaping the dusky twilight
an old man leans against a pillar, his creaky bones
barely hold him up
a young woman notices his swaying body
and gives up her seat on the wooden platform bench to him
he takes her hand and in a soft voice says
“Dios te bendiga a ti y a tu familia”

on the 5th oor of a Brooklyn apartment building,
the Ortiz family sits down to dinner with an extra plate
for their daughter’s friend, who has no food of her own at her home
her mother works two jobs and comes home so late that the twinkling stars
are slightly visible in the city
that never sleeps
Señora Ortiz tells her
“Nuestra casa es su casa”

in a struggling café on West 23rd Street, a family enters
30 minutes before closing, looking for a warm meal
to nourish their exhausted bodies
they’ve been walking for miles
in a new city, a new country
the kids sit down, their feet aching
the parents try to order, before they can get out a word
the owner tells them that he doesn’t serve people
‘like them’
he must have heard them speaking Spanish
they aren’t safe here

“You people do nothing but steal jobs and cause problems,” he says
“You don’t actually help anyone”

the mother and son in the nighttime fog,
the old man and young woman
in the subway station,
and the Ortiz family in their Brooklyn apartment
beg to differ

 

Second Place: Evelyn Bohn
Tamalpais High School (Teacher: Barbara Kurita-Ditz)