The Food Truck

The immigrant in his food truck,
parked at the edge of the lot,
sells reminders of home—
pupusas, tamales, tortillas—
to hungry laborers coming off shifts,
or waiting for work in the morning light;
to men whose families wait back home
for the monthly remittance,
or the fee for the coyotes to bring them North.

His foods remind him
of the land he farmed
and the corn he grew,
like his ancestors
long before the Spanish,
and before the flood
of cheap corn from America.

His farm is now a memory;
views of his fields replaced by
the asphalt and concrete of parking lots,
bare earth of construction sites,
and the faces of men like him,
looking for something to take them back home.

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One thought on “The Food Truck

  1. I read this poem as part of the colloquium talk I gave in the University of Arizona’s Geography Department. One person commented that I should try to personalize the poems, particularly this one. Referring to “the immigrant” depersonalizes the individual at the center of the poem. The commenter also suggesting interacting with the various individuals on whom I focus in the various poems set along the Route 1 corridor. While I’m not comfortable doing that, I do agree that personalization will make the poems stronger. Giving a name to the immigrant in this poem–I’ll call him “Carlos” for now– also prompted a change to the first lines of the poem. Instead of “The immigrant in his food truck/parked at the edge of the lot/sells reminders of home,” I move straight into the action: “Carlos sells reminders of home…”

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