We Are Fine

I’m happy. You’re happy.

We’re fine.

No paychecks. Or jobs.

To call mine.

No food. Or plates

For our darling kids.

But we smile and laugh

And sign that check with a pen.


We are fine.


There’s food stamps now. And snacks. To shove in our mouth.

We can relax for now and tell our babies

To slow down.

Ad in the paper. To hire a


I don’t want to. But I’ll do it so we can get some



We are fine.


I’m sore. And in pain.

From bending down to clean.

Those rich people got the longest halls.

And !Ai!  Their son is mean.

Got yelled at. And cried.

The mister wants me to learn.

English, English, English!

Es dificil, have you heard?


But my babies are fine.


I’m happy. You’re happy.

You got a job today.

Our smiles are like rainbows.

And we washed away the gray.

Va al Mercado. I’m going to make some


And this time, papi, don’t you worry about that



We are fine.



Their tummies are full.

I sent them off to bed. It’s time to turn on the desk side lamp And find out how much to spend.

Got minutes of sleep.

Before we had to wake.

Make money. And more of it.

I’m American. For my kids’ sake.


As long as we are fine.


A new room. Big mess.

It’s the son’s room I need to finish.

New words I’m learning to keep my job. How about: I clean with a “grimace.”

A raise. For you.

I kiss you on both cheeks.

I hide the pain buried in my back.

The mister says I’m weak.


Mi hijo. Es fantastico.

He shows me the bright, red A.

The teacher wants to meet sus padres.

He may need to move up a grade.

I dress up. In my Sunday skirt.

You try to wash your hands.

The tire scum stays on your fingers.

Our laughs are “facil” y “gran.”


And you and I is fine.


We sit in small desks.

The teacher walks on in.

Mi hijo holds his test grade up.

She smiles down at him.

She speaks. Of something.

But I cannot understand.

On, and on, and on, and on.

I look up at her as she stands.


Silence. You’re no help.

The language is too new.

We try to make our tongues less foreign

And say a thankyou.

La profesora. She nods.

She gives my arm a squeeze.

Mi hijo. He turns around.

His voice a cool breeze.


Our language. Floats from his mouth.

Smelling of mangoes and pure sweet.

It sings to me the words of praise.

Mi hijo explains to me.


And we are fine.



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