When I was growing up, my family worked in the fields picking fruits in California and sometimes would travel to other states as well to perform this laborious job. It is a tough and physical job and being a kid and even as a teenager, I often questioned why my family had to be performing in this type of work. At times there was resentment towards my parents for dragging me to work. I sort of wanted my parents to be white and successful. However, working in the fields made me appreciate many things and the importance of having an education. It made me realize there was more out there besides picking peaches or cherries. As much as I disliked picking fruits, it inspired me to write and more specifically, it inspired me to write some poems.
Here is just one that I wrote a few years ago. It’s titled “Peaches.”
The moon peaks through my window in this
Warm summer morning calling me to work.
“Wake up, wake up we have to go to work,” it says.
Hoping it’s just a dream, I close my eyes again
Dreaming of wealth
Until a cold drip of water splashes on my face.
Quickly I get up and put on the working clothes
An itchy flannel shirt
Begging my mother to let me stay and sleep
Like lazy kids do all summer days
She rubs caladryl on my face that’s still asleep
“To protect you from the sun and itch,” she says
We arrive to the heavy smell of peaches
That will later be thrown inside my working sack
With the scorching sun extending its rays
Sweat runs down my face attracting the peach
Fuzz to stick on my skin.
Fuzz itching on my forehead and neck
I rub the cool dirt from
Under the tree’s shade
Imagining myself in a mansion
And no working for me
Not questioning my family’s state of wealth
Feeling my brother’s wrath rubbing a peach on my neck
He fixes my attention back to where I am
“Get your ass back to work. Money don’t come from the dirt,” he says.