La Bandera

by Kevin Madrigal

I park in the Mission
always looking out for “no parking” and “no stopping” signs
on my way to work.
Today I walk past the Centro Latino de San Francisco
and notice one sign, adorned.
In bright red letters on a white background it says “No Stopping”
and hanging just a couple feet down from its text

La Bandera Mexicana
El tri color
Mexicanos y latinos unidos
En la Misión

They put up signs that say we can't stop here
we're supposed to continue on our way.
What happens when entire cities have signs posted
subtext reading
"You're not welcome here. Keep moving.”

We fight with resilience.
We make home on the sidewalk.
And use "no parking" signs to
Hold up flags that welcome our neighbors
to say:
"We were here before these signs
and we will stay until
we have replaced them with our own"