“All I Understood About Cesar Chavez”

was that Mom never bought grapes
because of the boycott

which she explained
in great detail

though I was only seven
and somehow got it confused

with picket lines at school.
I focused instead

on getting to Grandma’s
where I could eat all the grapes

I wanted, white or red,
peeling their skins

off with my teeth and stuffing
my mouth so full drool

seeped from the corners of my lips.
I never understood the tension

between my mother and hers
over grapes, but the boycott worked

and after the collective
bargaining agreement was signed

my mother found other things
to boycott, like Folger’s coffee,

her mother’s favorite brand.