Avocado walls in a district office meeting
have a lot to say, a lot to add about
educating students in the early seventies.
I wasn’t born yet, but I wish I had been part
of that day’s discussion. The one where someone
said, “The only thing Mexicans are good for
is stealing hubcaps.” And my father, a new
principal, stayed silent. The man who said it,
laughing and leaning up against the pale green
room like a plastic figurine in a fake place called,
“Outside.” I don’t know if everyone laughed,
but they might have, let’s face it, they did.
I do know that, the next day my father stole
all the hubcaps off that man’s car
in broad daylight, in the parking lot
of the elementary school. It’s one
of my favorite stories, though what I want
to know the most, is how good each
hubcap felt—a useful thing taken
and made a better-tool, rooted so deep
in a man’s pride that the weight made
the wheels stop spinning, its sole purpose
born into a fierce standing still.