Poem: El Sol

El Sol by Celeste Ledesma

The garbage man,
Our country once called
Him a no one, a ghost
Of nothing that slipped
In through the night of our
Nation and wouldn’t dare
Leave the shadows.

Our country then called
Him a someone, finally,
A someone who didn’t belong
In civilian clothing,
And so he was shuffled
Into the light of the Vietnam War.

He reflects to anyone who will listen:
I fought for my America, not the one
That looks into the waters of the Rio
And sees the blue eyes of Jesus Christ
But doesn’t see the brown of the muddy tears
He cries…Sabes que , that’s not mud, it’s my sister
And her children crossing the battlefield
Of a different kind of war.

The garbage man,
Our neighbors eventually called
Him Antonio because when
The war was won, or lost,
Or who remembers… they were allowed
To know he was real in the small space
Between night and day.

The garbage man,
Our family called him el sol
Because we saw him through our windows every morning–
Smile shining so bright that you wouldn’t think
He lived in the night, but you would know by the way
He talked about the moon: She was the light he followed
Through his first American night,
And I wonder if anyone cares (I mean wonders)
If when he says moon he means wife.

The garbage man,
I call him grandpa
And he reflects to us: Niños,
Even though I did not know
That you would be mine, you
Were the stars I reached for
When I lived in the night.

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