don’t gotta eat by Ruben Guzman

Photo: Creative Commons
Photo: Creative Commons
Photo: Creative Commons

 

Mom I’m a grown college man you never got to see I won’t forget what it was like back then winter tried you broke you down with a shot furnace when the car didn’t start you didn’t have to tell me again you were sorry for making me tardy to school in seventh grade I was too grown up to get my meal tickets from the office each monday you yelled at me when I said I don’t gotta eat I didn’t want anybody to see me I bought what I could and found a used brown bag an empty soda can had them out before anybody knew you would be amazed how they feed me in college can pick me anything with my meal card and nobody says anything I know how ladies at the piggly wiggly back home whispered at the people on food assistance (I still hate that word welfare) like us but when you’d come home late to make something warm for supper you would smile at me for eating nobody knew how sick you were except me when I was old enough to get a job it was like thanksgiving for us remember how I loved surprising you with a real hamburger on fridays but when the restaurant manager fired me I told you that he said I was late too much it was really because he saw me slip food into my backpack to take home you were mad at me every friday after that when I told you I don’t gotta eat I couldn’t work after you got worse when you stopped eating you weren’t as strong anymore those nights at the hospital when I held your cold hands you yelled at me for being too thin the last time I told you I don’t gotta eat you said don’t have to eat son use the right english I’m doing okay now I have your work ethic and I study hard I’m still skinny I miss suppers with you but I know now I have to eat

Ruben Guzman
Ruben Guzman

Ruben Guzman is author of the novel The Fountain In Forsyth Park as well as numerous poems and short stories, which appear on his blog literophanes. Ruben earned his MA/MFA from
Chapman University and is a Registrar at Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California. You can follow his work at: http://literophanes.com

 

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