Paisano Poets: Greenest Grass

Illustration by Alex Hanks

Illustration by Alex Hanks

Ana Cecilia Martinez, Managing Editor

When I asked Mama why some

of our family from Mexico didn’t

like us, she said it was because

we were lucky to live on the

greener side of the brown border.


My family didn’t understand

that Mama remembered

what it was like to work until

her beautiful bones ached only to

get paid the bare minimum to live.


My family didn’t remember that

Papa sold cut fruit and fresh tortillas

with his mother in the mornings

before school so she could buy

groceries to make him breakfast.


Mama and Papa never forgot

what it was like to drink water

in hopes of it appeasing the

burning ache in their stomachs

that reminded them of their hunger.


What our family overlooked was

Mama and Papa’s pain when they

struggled to learn English in college

so they could find good jobs in the

United States of greener grass.


Our family didn’t see the heartbreak it

caused Mama and Papa to not speak in

their native tongue out in a public that didn’t

look or smell like their third-world home

because no one understood them.


No, our family never understood.

Sometimes Mama and Papa don’t

understand either, but they remember

every time they come home to a warm

house filled with healthy and hungry bodies.


Our family never remembered until they

saw how Mama and Papa’s hard work and

sacrifice paid off in their educated children;

good jobs; beautiful dog; and house with

the greenest grass they could have imagined.