And what of those who populate the barren places no one else will,
where wind carries dust and flings both fistfuls in their faces . . .
Houses constructed of old clothes quickly ripped by the weather
once they are named ceiling, and sticks stand as close as sticks
can be, though wind invariably precedes or follows the full clouds
and what were once walls leave sand no longer serving as floor:
Yes, what of the poor, born to huddle in storms centuries
remember, women selling their precious bodies in streets.
How are we men when we deny shelter and love to women?
I do not care, I will sing their praises, and if we desire, make love
None of us were meant to live according to what other males say.
Off your knees, be naked with her, never fail to speak the truth.
I have shouldered hundred pound sacks equal to his.
After hours we heaved them into empty railroad cars
until their spaces were filled: the least of our labors.
We worked night and day, rotating shifts, as my village
disappeared. In the city I crossed mountains to find,
days were for excavating bony souls, nights learning their names.
(23-24 June, 7 -14 July 2014)
copyright 2014 by Floyce Alexander