The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus

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I grew up in this place, where I was one of ten.

Ruben, Estrella, Perla, Bety, Carlos, Ariana, Joel, Flor and Fausto:

siblings all packed into a three-bedroom trailer.

My room was not my own. My privacy a special home.

It didn’t make me angry.

No,

I was grateful.

To be here and not in El Rancho,

a Mexico of suffering.

But not everybody felt that love, the pride in being us.

So, my dark-skin became a mark, a sign of a rat-filled, insect infested poverty.

And when I opened my back-pack at school, and a brown roach crawled out.

I was disgusting.

I was ashamed.

My humble father’s job as a beef-production worker, became an embarrassment.

A Kansas Latina, dreaming of clean, white carpets and her own pink curtains.

But, I decided it didn’t matter.

Literature.

Science.

Art.

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.

Became the birds that brought me peace.

Now, shyness has disintegrated,

metamorphosed into a National Speech Qualifier, two-years in a row.

I am now three of two-hundred and sixty-two,

five-point GPA.

I am still grateful, for that cockroach that gave me drive.

Because from it, poverty became my model.

Hard-work my ideal.

Where I have emerged from is flawless.

this place, where I was one of ten.

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