Body, Count

Why not return
in proper coin
what you have taken
of my wool or spice,
for copper sluiced
through mountains’ veins?
Ah, I know that fear:
it’s you you glimpse
beneath my alien skin,
familiar form that darkens
your dreams but stoops,
ordered, to clear the cane
and harvest crops for your white-
linened table. With each
pass of the machete, a stalk
surrendered to your storehouse.
At end of day I wash my face
and dust-streaked arms at the pump,
careful to conceal the meagre
earnings you might confiscate
on small pretext— as if
the indentured have no right to call
back their own names at night.


In response to Via Negativa: Proverbial.

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