To my Cuban family

I translate bills, interpret expenses,
and pretend I don’t hear you argue about
Cingular, or the rent.
I close my eyes and it’s all dark,
no American dream,
just an endless cycle of the mundane.

The mangoes in our backyard don’t taste as good,
it’s the chemicals in the ground, you say.
In Cuba, everything tasted better,
except for the bitter government.
English is another foreign taste
but I like its many inconsistencies.

In school my accent is an abomination;
but at home I’m the only solution.
Here the white kids have better shoes
and their backpacks are JanSport.
My best friend used a wite-out
to draw a swoosh on his tattered shoes.

There are too many “firsts” expected of me.
Sacrifice is too heavy a burden to carry,
but I do it in silence and knowing
that you gave up a lot more.
So I drown my sorrow in fruity chemicals
because I forgot what truth tastes like.