Bio Note: I'm a retired public elementary school teacher who serves on the board of Modesto-Stanislaus (MoSt) Poetry Center and volunteers as a programmer for KCBP Community Radio. My first book is Fierce Light, a collection of research-based poems honoring 36 historic women, published by FutureCycle Press. In June 2022, Main Street Rag published my second book of poetry, Wind & Children.
Done with grading papers and planning for tomorrow, I carry my bags outside the classroom. Across the hall young mothers sit at desks with babies at their feet. For free they can learn a new language, learn to read and write, learn to raise their children in a world of machines. Trees shade the breezeway, and the bright field sighs. Beyond the playground fence, goats pause in their grazing and lift their heads to gauge the sun’s position relative to a distant horizon. Nighthawks call. Long shadows guide me home.
Originally published in Wind & Children Main Street Rag, 2022
They arrive in the fog before dawn in unmarked yellow buses and stuttering sedans filled beyond capacity. Men and women with dark hair beneath tight-fitting caps huddle around the fire at the edge of the fields. The heavy sky is a shawl of poison, and they work wrapped in its embrace nurturing the wealth of their conquerors. Bent over the earth—the home they care for but do not own— icy fingers and aching arms reach and gather the harvest while their dreams ride their backs like children on horses. The leaves whisper ancient stories, the benediction of family and the seasons of birth and childhood, work and death. Beneath their toil the earth smells sweet like sheets washed in the river and dried in the sun— the bed that waits, already made, for those who gaze at it every day and those who look away.
Originally published in Notre Dame Review
©2022 Linda Scheller
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