A plate filled with rice and beans
satiated my hunger
almost every day without fail.
I depended on those rice and beans.
Thick gravy drowns the rice, spoonfuls by the minute.
Even on our brokest years,
we could always rely on a pot of arroz y habichuelas.
Sometimes accompanied with a fried egg or
plantains during the weeks where we didn’t have enough for meat.
I didn’t appreciate plates of rice and beans
until I realized white people paid thirteen dollars for a plate.
My food was valuable.
My culture wasn’t savage.
My people didn’t need your help.
They pay for our food and ask questions about our delicacies.
I come home eagerly waiting to
quench my hunger after a long day.
I eat these rice and beans alone
because the table is no longer as full as this plate.
I think of the rice and beans that propagated my survival
and I think of my family.
Scattered around the states and the island
each pursuing different aspects of the American dream.
But, I sit at this empty table envisioning the past,
and I smile because I know these rice and beans will always taste the same.