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poem of the week

~ Buenas Tardes, Señora, Pariente Lejana ~


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Buenas Tardes, Señora, Pariente Lejana
Queda claro por qué tan pocas veces podemos ver jóvenes chicanos sin ropas limpiar y planchada.
(It becomes clear why we seldom see young chicanos without clean, pressed clothes)

She steps hard-jawed into the laundromat back out and in again, quickly, all business with baskets of clothes for the washers, dryers to be sorted judiciously and fed, along with scrimpy quarters, into the machines she can't afford for home. Years of making do, and gravity of labor weigh down her cheeks, her breasts, while age has thickened her middle and still, as through some miracle of intent, she holds that line, that appearance for the world with fresh clothing, a hint of makeup. Laundering clothes for her family, she is a nation of brown-skins, speaking language of their long-ago oppressors, but blending native ways into foreign, forced cathedrals that would separate humans from the world, thus we preserve bits of heritage. She stands here, north of imaginary lines sketched on our earth by the invaders, and sorts clothing that, laundered and pressed, will show the world a resilience, a will to survive, a history impossible to erase, a strength residing in the blood. © 2010 Thomas Hubbard
This poem appears in Yellow Medicine Review, Spring, 2010
Thomas Hubbard spends his time enjoying the beauty of Puget Sound, or hiding out in his Ozarks cabin, or moving about in Canada, Mexico and the USA. His poetry and fiction most recently appear in Yellow Medicine Review,Spring 2010, and in the Foothills Publishing anthology, I Was Indian (before being Indian was cool) Edited by Susan Deer Cloud.
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