Marcello (Bisabuelo) This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   onto the off-ramp coming down from the plane serving him and his kind expensive free

passes into



(land of the free home of the brave)



a world unlike anything he had ever seen

He shakes off the travel dust from a land he may never see again, his wife sighs a long

sigh at the end of a great journey and comforts his children, the only excuse for the

sad exodus that ends here in the middle of nowhere



(center of the world)



with its miles and miles straight up of people upon people just like him in search of

new life new hope new opportunities

while old fears and old worries set down upon him



His children must remember this time, this period of regret and hushed anxiety, when

everything great and grand seemed too grand ... pushing down on him with the

weight of twenty stories of steel and mortar

The walk begins, a slow easy steady walk down the aisle with no looking back



(no regrets, no worries)



at the world they left



New York is as beautiful and ugly as he always hoped and feared



The people walk by and by like ants toward their own private prisons ... some stop, some

stare, their wide eyes almost speaking



(Welcome to America)



to Marcello and his family, telling them to turn back before it's too late

But they ignore them, the first step to becoming American, and start off, trying

desperately to keep a salsa beat in their step and the smell of arrojo con pollo in

their noses and the quiet beauty of Puerto Rico in their minds



(Everything's right in America)



trying to keep the children from a life of hot dogs and mickey mouse and daytime soap

operas and picket fences and polyester and corporate ladders and fashion

magazines

(The American Dream)



and they enter



(are Assimilated into)



american life with a dream and a plane ticket

never to completely return



And the children all live new york life, join gangs, watch Star Trek and the New York

Yankees play,

Manage to survive as the family de Leon who once lived back in the island



(home)



of Puerto Rico

but left



And the oldest son Herman moves to Jersey and his children live in Jersey, now as

Americans

And the daughters move back to Puerto Rico gladly

And Marcello himself retires and tearfully returns home, after decades of slowly growing

old and rotting in New York, to Puerto Rico, leaving his children as

hispanic-americans

wishing them never to forget where they came from



so when david marcello de Leon, great grandson, born in america and brought up america,

eats hot dogs and speaks only English and cannot understand what his family tries

to say and considers the island as nothing but a distant land



sadly the american trap is complete




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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