Poem to Mr. Ron Unz 
Who Preaches English-Only As the Answer

by Margot Kelley


And Mr. Unz, who up and elected 
you God of the state 
el numero uno 
master of all teachers 
who knows all the answers 
for those children 
(as in other/as in not in my backyard 
unless they're mowing my lawn) 
en los barrios de California? 
Who made you so clever?

As five year olds sit with teenagers 
chanting "See Spot run" over and over
until you wipe any hint of an accent 
any roll of the "r" away in shame 
in your immersion perversion

You got the grand plan 
to teach kids whose names 
you can't pronounce
how to speak English
in one year and no exceptions 
or else?

or else what?

sink or swim back to Mexico 
Haiti, Vietnam, Pakistan because 
beneath those words 
beneath those blue, blue eyes 
you hide the message


inside 20 year-old text books 
with the covers torn off 
we do not want you 
in the classroom with no desks where rain 
leaks in from holes in the roof 
we do not want you 
in the sound the ruler makes against the knuckles 
of a boy who dares to ask una pregunta

a child needs no translation

Margot Kelley is a student at the University of California, Berkeley.

©1998 by Margot Kelley. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this page for free, noncommercial distribution, provided that credit is given and this notice is included.