White-trash Beaner (to my 11-year old confused self)

Me and the fam

 

Grama says I’m Indian.

Mama says my dad was “A Mexican” and that if he really loved me like

“Mexican daddies do,”

he woulda found me by now.

Grama says we’re Indian, mama says ‘no.’

Sis calls me a “wetback” and a “beaner” (“mom said it all the time”)

brother teases me about getting pregnant and dropping out of high school.

Grama and mama don’t speak to each other for a year

because of the Indian/Mexican fiasco.

Christmas ends the standoff; it’s a time “to forgive.”

And no one talks about Indians or Mexicans ever again.

They tell me I’m Scotch-Irish and “Pennsylvania Dutch” (thanks grampa)

and that I should be proud of that.

And I am.

At school the kids call me “white trash” ‘cause my skin is light

and I’m confused

and because I wear K-mart tennies and shitty Lee jeans

(in the era of Jordache, remember?).

I’m fat and awkward and we’re poor, between the bills, their ciggies,

and his wine,

money is tight.

But fuck them, the white kids calling me white trash and they didn’t even

know it;

we were all poor kids.

 

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