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A Poem by Naomi Martinez.  

The grass will be mowed this weekend.
they want it cut every week here
Like close shaven bikini lines
and it’s already up to my bedroom window.
It’s hot 11.5 months out of the year
the leaves are never brown (irony?),
there is no autumn.
They want crisp cookie cutter lawns.
Once we lived in an apartment
where they didn’t allow
children to play in the hallways.
One place only allowed 1 kid-
so the other one magically became invisible.
Passing by the outskirts of Edinburg,
a sign read “no outside visitors allowed”
posted on the parking lot of an apartment complex.
My (white) friend, new to here, asked
why more don’t complain about landlords,
there are laws in place,
and that messy lawns
are just sinverguenzas.
And there are so many
reasons behind
that simple observation,
one of those times
where I stay quiet
because the explanations
are never simple.
They are layered
under centuries
and we walk under the ladder.
And I can never wrap
my head around
the simplicity that
must go through their
uncomplicated minds
when they lay blame.
And I can’t understand
way of living
it must hurt-being so honest,
clean, yummy looking, crisp.
It’s the reason I am quiet
concentrating on stories, reasons, lives.
There was a house once
with a broken refrigerator, no running water, broken stove.
Of course the sinverguenzas never
called the landlord.
because they lived paycheck to paycheck
and had no where to go
and had been turned town countless times
sometimes it was because
professionals would be bothered
by crying babies
or sometimes it was
“we usually have quiet couples”
read-not single mothers.
Once, once
there was a place
that didn’t allow toys
on the front steps.

Sometimes it’s safer not to complain

you weigh your options on your shoulders
Reasons why I stay quiet
when my friends speak.