The Right Way

If I had a dollar for every person
Who has told me to ‘wait in line’
For a greencard, I would have
Enough dollars to buy

a pizza. But no, in all seriousness,
Maybe I could afford two or three...
And during the time those pizzas
are baking I would tell them.

I would tell them that I have
Waited
I’ve already waited in line just like
I’ve waited for hundreds
Of pizzas, tamales, and pan dulces
to bake.
And my waiting, like my ancestors,
Has fed America for free.

My people have waited and bussed
Your meals,
orders,
dirty dishes. Waited
Them out your face, to be
Cleaned by faceless undocumented
workers with raw hands
And swollen feet.

We’ve waited.
Waited years for a simple state ID.
Waited to afford college, and get basic healthcare.
We’ve waited decades
To vote and drink from the same fountains.
To be called citizens of a country
that has no right to exist.

I’ve waited a lifetime for someone to pronounce
My name like my mother does.
I’ve waited 500 years
To know the names of my ancestors,
Baking in the soil the color of my skin.

So no.
I will not wait.
I will not wait my turn.
I will not quietly hold for my place.

I am done waiting,
This time, I’m the one
calling the shots.
I am the one putting in the orders.

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