Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mary Torregrossa


Selling candy outside
the Washington Mutual
is not working out,
the boy tells me, hunched
in layers of clothes like
he's waiting for the school
bus on a cold morning,
shoulders like a wire
coat hanger, face tanned
by the winter sun.

He lies about the soccer team
to customers lined up at the ATM
who clutch their money
in the holiday rush home
to bunuelos and tamales.
He plies Raisinets in a box - two bucks.

Candy labels look like crayons
stacked inside the cardboard carton.
I take whatever he hands me.
I give him three bills - two ones and a five.

See if you can't use it for bus fare, I say.

He bends and slips the five into his sneaker.

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