My father grew up on the streets of Nicaragua.
He taught me to be kind
in the most indirect way.
He sat me down
beside my brother
our legs still dangling from rickety chairs,
our plates before us
beans, corn and a bit of chicken.
He instructed us to wrap one arm around the plate —
keep your eyes alert, he said
and be ready to strike anyone who tries to steal your food.
My eyes widened
my eyes shifted
and then rested
on a large bowl of mangos and payayas.
As my father walked away
my brother stabbed my hand with his fork
and gobbled down my chicken.
I still have a little scar as a reminder.
But when I went off to school
I shared my lunch freely
because this lesson taught me
made some people cruel
and greed was no solution —
and on the days that I had nothing
others came to share.