January 29, 2009


          for Tino Villanueva

In my friendís story,
he is a migrant worker.
It is a true story.

He carries that small village of pain
over Texas ground
picking okra,

one generation removed
from the hurt
of cotton.

In town he is
pinned back against plyboard,
a laughed-at Chicano.

How did this man grow?
He will tell you:
I built myself

word by word
scaling language
like buildings,

rotating sounds
under my tongue

I could speak.

—Carmi Soifer
previously published in "Summer House Review Anthology", Volume 1, 2002

Posted by dwaber at January 29, 2009 01:10 PM