August

image by Candiix/Pixabay


Tailtiu cleared the plains

So crops would grow.

She died, exhausted from her labor.

But the land flourished, and fed the people. And the cycle emerges:

Labor and death. Death and labor.

And the ones who write the histories

Or those who exploit them,

Are the ones whose names are remembered. Exploitation. Degradation.

The sweating brow and beating heart.

The tears.

A wish for a better life.

Those stories are too often seldom told. The sun sleeps this morning.

Sirens doppler by.

Here, in my town, children

Cry, separated from their parents.

Just south, men are caged.

They come from Southeast Asia.

Central America. They came, hoping for a fertile place.

For fields already plowed.

They came, fleeing guns and rape

And sudden death that comes at night. They were met with guns. *** It is August. Fruits lay rotting in the fields.

In need of water and strong backs

To stoop and hands to pick.

And skin to split open

From the sharp slash

Of a corn husk. I eat blueberries.

My life made comfortable

From the sacrifice and sorrow

Of too many stolen lives. How shall I honor them? Games were set in Tailtiu’s honor.

But the day was named for her foster son.

The one who did the honoring.

Not for the one who labored

Until she died. What shall I name this day?

We call it “First of August”

For some ancient emperor.

Some exploiter.

Some oppressor.

Some imperialist.

Some enslaver. I name it:

Day of Immigrants.

I name it:

Descendants of the Enslaved.

I name it:

Stolen Land.

I name it:

Survivors of Genocide.

I name it:

Day of Laborers.

I name it:

The Sacrifice of Harvest. I name it:

Gratitude,

And sorrow.

All in one.

#poetry

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