The Old Bracero Has His Tricks

The Old Bracero Has His Tricks

By Jennifer Patiño

My abuelo, the old bracero,
walked all the way
from Mexico into my dreams.

He came to say goodbye.

His skin an unearthly purple,
he pointed to our family huddled
near my father as he answered
a phone call with sad news.

Take care of them, he said,
and pointed again for emphasis.

When the dream came to pass,
we couldn’t cross for the funeral.
But my abuelo had known.
Dreams and death have a much
more permeable border.

I leave some tequila for him
in a shot glass with a Cubs logo
and remember the blue satin jacket
he always wore despite the heat.
It was what he had of his son in Chicago.

I pour him a shot glass and wait for a visit.
I could use some advice.


About Jennifer Patiño

Jennifer Patiño is a poet, writer, editor and community archivist. She helps run Sixty Inches From Center, an online arts publication and archiving initiative that specializes in documenting the work of marginalized communities in Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Gozamos, Dicen Que Dicen, Cantologia I: Amor, and |Tap| Lit Mag. She graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and dual minors in Poetry and Latino/Hispanic Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign with a specialization in digital archives.