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Saturday, April 19, 2014


by Laura Rodley

28th Annual Alma Spinach Festival, April 19, 2014

Migrant worker’s hands stained green
from picking spinach, green leaves
full of iron he cannot eat, washes
his hands in a bowl in his room
sleeps on a bare mattress on the floor
window glass broken, curtains frayed
their once brilliant yellows whitened
with sun that only tans his face
deeper, squints his eyes when
he walks back out to the rows of spinach
washing his hands in the sprinkler
set for the plants, not allocated
for him, the chuckwagon rolls in, sells
warm bagels and cream cheese, hot coffee
but not Columbian like he drank at home,
the drops of mercy that carried him through
the morning, saving money for his daughter’s
communion, the priest's drops of mercy,
holy water touched to her forehead
to protect her, keep her from a future
like this where he bends his back to the hot soil
the green leaves he cannot eat;
they are for sale, not for him.
Maybe at home the corn he planted
has come up, maybe his conchita
has already picked them, or his son,
what he would give to go back home,
only drops of mercy now
the sweat that rolls down his face
ten o’clock sun and it’s already eighty degrees,
and the spinach needs picking before it wilts.

Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee,  won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press.  Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.  She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.