by Dimitri Suriel
8am on a Saturday, prime cartoon time for a kid, Ma got us dressed to venture out on our quest for
food. Her bottomless purse held old receipts, her ID, travel candy, and our fares. $1.25 per passenger,
all quarters jingling jangling down to a bus stop
Buses hold a hidden schedule, set to arrive when they want to arrive, filled with passengers hanging
onto wishes and hope. Most trapped in 9 to 5 bondage, some, like us, heading to the compra promised
Doing compra is a special day for the poor. We eat scraps for days or weeks, boiled hot dogs and eggs
for dinner, and have our fridges filled by God the Welfare Worker.
Bags on bags on bags of food carried onto a bus, after hours of searching in aisles, peering at expiration
dates, and debating with Ma that Fruit Roll-ups don't expire.
Ma never looked as happy as us, deep down knowing she would eventually hear her children complain
they’re hungry, until it’s time to do compra again, putting faith in God the Welfare Worker that our
family is worthy.
Dimitri Suriel is a Puerto Rican/Dominican-American raised in Worcester MA, where a lot of his work is in searching for identity, while embracing the cultures, lived experiences, and identities he holds.