The Grocery Store Across The Tex-Mex Border (Poem No.2)

For a while, my mother worked for one of them,
as a capturista at Nielsen, counting coupons.
My aunt Blanca worked there before my mother,
went work together every day.
She came back home at midnight.
She used to buy wristwatches in El Paso’s Chinatown
to sell to their peers
because most of them had no passport to cross to the other side.
When there were holidays,
like Mother’s Day she gave them in installments.
She sold them in installments.
She stopped working there because she became pregnant.
I was five when my sister was born.
After the birth of my sister,
my mother took a chance
and opened a grocery store to help
my father and earn more money than the maquila.
My mother made small bags of sweets and cookies
for me to sell during recess at Abraham Gonzales,
my elementary school.
However, one bitter teacher forbade me to sell my sweets
—at seven years old I had become the competition of the school’s candy store.
It’s actually something I’m proud of,
I realize now that the store owners (who were relatives of that teacher)
were afraid of my abilities to survive and to dream and be resourceful.
At seven, I bested them at their own game and all they could do was tell me “no.”
Sometimes I gave candy to my classmates who had not yet
succumbed to the tastes of colorful rubbery Viboritas,
a gummy ninja turtle, or the marmalade sponges we bought in El Paso,
from the other fractionation came to buy the famous jelly beans.
Yes, he did when he had recovered gain and hoping to get new customers.



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