By David Velazquez, 20, Oceanside
Infinitesimally thin, brown, paper bag.
Wrinkled, grease-stained, paper bag.
Everyday you bear the realities of my impoverished family.
Revealing to no one the paroxysmal nature of hunger;
A sandwich with no mayo, no lettuce, no tomato.
Ink-tainted with the calculations of a family’s debt—
Every first of the month, the bag gets lighter but never empty.
Blood-stained from their fight last night—
Their brutish yells, my enduring torment.
If only hugs could be kept in my brown paper bag.
If dreams! If love! If—
Mom do not lament. We will be ok, the child says.
Brown paper bag, infinitesimally thin, wrinkled,
Ink-tainted, blood and grease-stained.
Brown paper bag, speak!
Let ‘em know.
Brown paper bag, it’s just you and me.
Brown paper bag, you are my plea.