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Fresno Gave Birth to Me

Fresno gave birth to me.
Over there
alla,
amidst the grape and almond fields of Pratton where the neighbors never accepted us.

That day a tractor pulled my home.
Set it beneath the walnut trees of fallen warriors Maria y Jose
better yet Cuauhtémoc y Maria
a mother of five with a noble heart and a father who was born into a shoe box at seven months
living in the fields for thirty, born into the fields, born into slavery.

They are mad because we are brown and poor. They claim it is the house that is unappealing.
But petitions spread and they all say yes
yes to the expulsion of my family.
Just like they did to my ancestors back in 1519.

Ahi, my mobile home remains
bright blue and dented
walls with peeling paint that have collected memories
like the times when we put ice cubes in the cooler because we were burnt from the sun. or the times, we, all seven of us, slept in one room because we were cold.
Asking:
When will you buy a heater?

Fresno gave birth to me.
Founded as a railway station of the Central Pacific Railroad
the same one that beat and shot immigrant Chinese workers for demanding their rights.
Forced from the fields and into crude labor.

forget them
olvidados.
we can bring more
said the white man.
look
over there, mira
alla.

In 1942, Braceros were admitted into the U.S
bribed with false promises.
Japanese Americans
put into camps right there ahi
in the Fairgrounds in which we celebrate
and couples kiss atop the ferris wheel
and Fresno
Fresno saw this happen.

A year later united they striked.
and the U. S
The U.S saw all this happen
and nothing
nothing changed.

But you see,
I can forgive Fresno
because Fresno gave birth to me. 


--Yelisa A., Adult