By Brian Dunlap
Jorge has reached Mar Vista Park.
The bells attached to his
icebox on wheels announce
the popsicles and ice cream sandwiches,
enticing on a warm
Los Angeles summer day.
Older siblings and parents
whose giggles and squeals
permeate the jungle gym. Footprints
upon footprints imprinted in the sand.
Where Spanish mingles with
English and Mandarin. Sprinkled
with Arabic and Hindi.
Here, Jorge wanders, slight hunch
to his gate, silent. He only pauses
to state prices in broken English.
Smiles. Only talks to the parents
who speak his native tongue.
Jorge sells ice cream for a simple
smile on a child’s face.
He does it to keep worry
and hunger from his sons’ eyes. For his sons
to stay children
a while longer.
As Jorge removes his Stetson
and wipes sweat from his brow
he thinks about tomorrow’s soccer match
between Mexico and Guatemala.
It’s at noon when children start to rush
and dollars finally accumulate in his palm.
But when a young boy runs up
with a soccer ball tucked beneath his arm,
Jorge sees his sons.
Sees them kick the ball
past the goalie’s
Standing beside his icebox
as his sons’ rec league game unfolds.
Tomorrow, if Jorge leaves early and departs
when the game ends
he can watch it with his sons
and still provide a place
where they can rest their eyes,
till light presents another morning.
Brian Dunlap is a native Angeleño who continues to live in Los Ángeles. He is passionate about capturing the L.A. stories that are hidden in plain sight. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Fresno State and a BA in Creative Writing from UC Riverside, both in fiction. His work has appeared in Angel City Review, CCM-Entropy, Muse, California Quarterly, Statement Magazine and Dryland. He runs the blog site www.losangelesliterature.
Photo credit: Matthew Rutledge via a Creative Commons license.