Cultural pride through poetry

Recently my school´s  library directors organized a Diversity Read-In day where members of our community were invited to read passages, picture books, poems aloud, anything that represented a diverse voice.  

One of the many favorite readings was done by Sofia L, a junior student whose mom is from Colombia and whose father is of German descent.  Sofia also wrote this beautiful poem dedicated to her abuelos.  I asked her to read and share it with our teachers´ community and she kindly agreed.  

Please send Sofia a little thank you note to my school email (dojeda@loucol.com).  I’m sure she will appreciate it.

Here is Sofia reading her poem:

And here is the poem:

Saturday afternoon at Abuela´s 

Saturday afternoons at my grandma’s house. Abuelo sitting on the couch. Colombian soccer game. 3 to 4. He says hi and lets me try the fresh squeezed orange juice he made. I take a taste, all homemade, made to make my bones strong. Nothing processed. He moves on. “Cafecito, mi cielo?” No thanks, where’s the queso? Arepas and tapas, sopa con papas. No one can stop us when we’re in the kitchen. Abuela with me, living history. I already know what to do. I peel potatoes. She starts broth for soup. She never wastes because everything is a blessing. Everything is a gift. The plantains, the chicken, the corn meal you sift. We work for hours, talking in between. Tell me about your life in your American dream. She tells me she arrived in the year 1963, a suitcase, a visa, and a pale pink rosary. All she really needed, she says, was her faith in God and a high held head. Started in a factory her English wasn’t perfect, the mean men made her nervous. A book of English so she could learn it. She did and flipped 180°. Working long days to get ahead. Strong mind that led her to the steps of the bank of New York. The streets as they roared would stop to listen, as she made history, first Latina in her division. She smiles with pride for a second then asks me to check if the chicken is done. Always working for everyone else, never a moment for herself. Matriarch of my mothers side. Always there to give me a ride to school, or sports, or home and of course. I always forget to tell her the most important part. Thank you, Abuelita, for every meal you bring, for every poem that you read, for encouraging me to write, to set my sights high but keep my feet down “stay grounded.” Thank you for reminding me not to worry. Life is never a hurry, it is a steady pace. Thank you for teaching me your recipes and all your little tricks. For handing me the spoon and allowing me to mix. Thank you for inviting me over on Saturday afternoon to cook and to eat and spend time with you. Thank you, the most, for being my Ita, for sharing your culture, and a bowl of sopita.


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