“Parthenia St Elementary” by Juan Cardenas


Just four thousand three hundred and fifteen days,
eleven years of life to this newly Mexican immigrant boy
in the United States of America,
and the principle of the elementary school
In which he attended,
A tall well fed woman with red curled hair,
Pearls adorning her ears,
Gold rings in her luxurious fingers,
Yelled at him with such a hatred in her voice,
Shrugged eyes in exaggeration,
As the spit of all the words
He couldn’t understand
hits his face.

Juan Cardenas is a flutist, vocalist, poet, activist, and educator to the bilingual community, specializing in teaching poetry and music to the youth. He is a poet teacher with California Poets in the Schools working with native Spanish speakers and youth of diverse cultural backgrounds.


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