Big Issue Woman
This brown woman
In a shawl sky-blue
Shouts, ‘big issue, please,
Though she tries her best,
The people walk on past.
‘Thank you, thank you,’
She cries, ‘God bless.’
An Immigrant’s Daughter
The daughter of an immigrant has hair as dark as desert
And skin like sand beneath the soles of those who chased
the rising sun.
The daughter of an immigrant explains to children wrong
And once the school bell tolls she knows her work has only
With wrinkled hands she hangs wet bedsheets on a
ragged washing line
And feeds two mouths enough to fill the bellies of two
For she recalls mamoosa shared between a family of nine
And closing weary eyes upon a naked mattress on the
I’ve watched her for a generation, as a crowd beholds a
And wonder how much work of hers has surely passed me
The daughter of an immigrant, generous beyond compare.
And when she, like her mother, makes for soils of a more
I pray she leaves for me her spirit so that I might also chase
The rising sun her father yearned and one day, smiling,
meet her there.