En Familia Unos Mucho
In 1975, I met a shoeshine boy-
in the fancy district, La Zona Rosa, Mexico City.
This ten-year-old polished my boots
with humor and finesse,
then asked about Watergate
and other mysteries in “Gringolandia.”
After the shine, shoulder to shoulder,
we watched a man with no legs
scoot along the rough sidewalk
on a board with rollerskate wheels.
His arms arced forward, rough
hands gripping wooden blocks,
resting finally before a gilded gate
and forbidding wall, crested with broken glass.
The boy looked at me,
dark eyes, such lashes, and shrugged:
“Unos mucho, otros nada.”
Some have much, others nothing.
Today, I imagine that same limpiabotas by my side,
when a team of masons arrives
at my house, to fashion columns,
a low wall and broad, fine steps.
Their cowboy hats blocked in a particular style:
Cinco en Troque, Five in a Truck.
Brims turned up tight, able to travel together,
shoulder to shoulder, in a scruffy pickup.
As they unload– such passion,
muscling a huge pile of rocks, labor sweetened with musica,
a little dance, humming and bantering.
The occasional grito: ay, yi, yay.
At noon, a small fire
nestled in a little mound
heats tacos and sausage.
They offer to share with me.
They hoot and sing “La Egoista,” booming and rowdy.
Working on and on for hours,
ignoring the scorch of the wind, knowing each other’s
every move. En familia.
I imagine the boy and his wry grin:
Who has much?