#31 The Living by Patricia Goodrich

The clay and the curved adobe almost convinced me
this is a good place to live.  A good place, it appears.
Poverty hides behind walls.

With roads and streets, and towns christened with Hispanic
and Indian names and government officials bearing them, too,
discrimination seems to be erased.

But notice who tends the college grounds and who teaches there.
Who sits under the portal of the Palace selling and who buys.
If that is too general, who lose their jobs without a day’s notice,

like Maria, a café’ worker with decades of experience, or
Esperanza, who redid my photos yesterday without being asked
and whose unmuffled sobs I hear behind a curtain,

enlargements of her young son missing from the bulletin board.
Where can a fifty-year old woman go in February
in Santa Fe except to the unemployment line?

As for a young mother…  And what of human dignity?
You know you do not matter
when there is no courtesy of goodbyes.

Patricia Goodrich is a writer and visual artist. Recent books include How The Moose Got To Be, Verda’s House, and Red Mud.  Her poems have been translated into Chinese, Lithuanian & Romanian. She is recipient of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction fellowships and residencies at  Santa Fe Art Institute and Yaddo .  www.patriciagoodrich.com.


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