Published on Academy of American Poets (

In the Discount Lot

Outside the grocery store
laden with the sweat
of tanned field workers
we stand          little girls in winter coats
our hands hold signs leaflets
our dark long hair waist length
one straight, one curly
we say to the people
who walk up to the glass door

don’t buy the lettuce here
they aren’t good to their workers

I don’t recall anyone
said anything back
or who stood with us
I remember my sister
next to me,      us
in our Sunday velvet best
she     beret and red plaid jacket
me     white rabbit skin muff
little brown girls with picket signs
rosy cheeks, big black eyes
legions of ghosts
above              behind
angels wing over us
ancestor feathers beat
in the invisible breeze
each time someone enters
or exits the building
with a bag
full of groceries
oranges and eggs
celery and grapes.


Copyright © 2021 by Angela C. Trudell Vasquez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 18, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is centered in an early childhood memory with the Chicano House. We lived in family student housing with people from all over the world. In this environment, I became aware of class at a very young age. In this poem, the white spaces, the caesuras, represent the gaps in my memory, reflect the time that has passed, and the stories missing from history. I consider poetry to be a visual art form as much as anything else and am fond of the em dash. In this poem I imagine my deceased family members hanging out, and protecting us.”
—Angela C. Trudell Vasquez


Angela C. Trudell Vasquez

Angela C. Trudell Vasquez is a Mexican-American poet and the author of My People Redux (Finishing Line Press, 2022), and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives.

Date Published: 2021-11-18

Source URL: