Making Money: Drought Year in Minkler, California

By Gary Soto b. 1952 Gary Soto
“It’s a ’49,” Rhinehardt said, and slammed
The screen door, then worked his way around
The dog turds in the yard
To the Buick gutted from fire—the gears
Teething rust, the fenders sloped
Like the shoulders of a fired worker
Out of beer. He circled the car
Kicking the tires, eyeing
The grille that still grinned the ribbed wings
Of a sparrow. He looked inside and flies
Lifted like patted dust, settling
Into a loose knot on the visor.
“Yeh, you’re right as right ... it’s a ’50,”
Rhinehardt spat, his tongue rolling
A false tooth into place. “It’s got no
Running board.” He pressed a buck
Into his son’s hand and retired to the porch
Where he towel-flicked
His wife from a chair
And as evening came on watched beyond
The street, a kennel of trees,
Where—as he had dreamed—a plane would drop
And bloom fire. Two bucks on that one.

Gary Soto, “Making Money: Drought Year in Minkler, California” from Where Sparrows Work Hard (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Gary Soto. Reprinted with the permission of the author,

Source: Where Sparrows Work Hard (1981)

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Poet Gary Soto b. 1952


Subjects Money & Economics, Parenthood, Living, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Gary  Soto


Gary Soto is known for a body of work that deals with the realities of growing up in Mexican-American communities; in poems, novels, short stories, plays and over a two dozen books for young people, Soto has recreated the world of the barrio, the urban, Spanish-speaking neighborhood where he was raised, bringing the sights, sounds and smells vividly to life within the pages of his books. Soto’s poetry and prose focus on everyday . . .

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SUBJECT Money & Economics, Parenthood, Living, Social Commentaries


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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