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Migrant Mother

We come in droves,
voices eager, bodies willing;
our culture left behind.

Mild climate, long seasons 
with crop diversity 
and staggered 
cycles beckon, 
a utopia of wealth
this munificent land.

Harvest travelers,
we uproot constantly, anticipate
each move will be better.

Every family member labors,
money never enough
to support ourselves.
Meager food, ragged clothing,
irrigation ditch sanitation; 
our children sicken.

Shack no better than a square box,
level roof, one door and window,
inside heat unbearable.

We sing, when we aren't too weary,
drink, to swamp fatigue.
My brow is aged before its time,
bitterness drags at my mouth.
I consider my life of misery,
its taste harsh on my tongue.

Children have tragic eyes; 
baby nuzzles at a shriveled breast, 
whimpers in need.

I mull words meant to fire my spirit,
I will not accept riches 
and sacrifice the rape of my soul.

Whoever said this
spoke with a full belly
and hopeful destiny.

Copyright 2003 Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper


Copyright Dorothea Lange



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