Eloisa’s poem, Charlie's Coat, is included in the Bards Against Hunger Chapbook – 2018 Wisconsin Edition (Local Gems Press); she was a WODC writer in residence in November 2018. Write on Door Co., a non-profit literary organization in Fish Creek, WI.
Eloisa co-authored the book, Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists, (Wisconsin Historical Society Press) which won the 2019 “IPPY” (Independent Publisher) Award in the Women’s Studies category.
She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she continues to research Latina activism, is a member of the South Shore Poets’ group and receives poetry coaching from Dr. Debra Vest of the Vest Conservatory for Writers. She can be reached at: email@example.com
Bards against Hunger Chapbook – 2018 Wisconsin Edition (Local Gems Press, 2018)
Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists, (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018)
I was ten and scrawny back in the ‘60s
when Charlie and his family moved
into a dilapidated house next to ours.
A congested neighborhood of too many
kids with too little space made the cracked
concrete alleys our playground.
I was curious about Charlie—
an older teen; short and stocky,
with a long face, rutted cheeks and
skin more gray than white.
That fall and winter I sometimes
watched as he came and went, alone.
He wore the same button-down
brown, plaid wool coat every day.
His arms, longer than normal,
swung with each slow, long step.
Charlie died that winter. The swift
announcement that he was hit by a car
with no other details was code talk for,
And don’t ask any more questions.
The next morning, looking out
my bedroom window, I saw
Charlie’s younger brother, Leo, leave
his house. He wore Charlie’s plaid coat.
I stared and my eyes told me
something I shouldn’t have known;
that when you are real poor,
you wear the clothes
of someone who just died—
and you keep walking.