Between earth and water
Sky and soil
jelly, bread
peanut butter
paper towels
macaroni n’ cheese
milk, Hamburger Helper
Holy Aisles.


What happens
when you lose
your grocery list.



The Story of Rosa Moreno and Her Hands

(A Documentary Poem)

The accident took place
at two-thirty –
in the morning.
She was putting together
The back of an LG flatscreen TV.
She put her hands inside the machine
And heard noises – strange noises.
“They just fixed it,” said her supervisor
“Go back to work.”

At two-thirty in the morning
It fell on her hands –
The machine, that is.
It could not be lifted
For a while (maybe fifteen minutes)
It was heavy.

She tried to stay conscious
While the nurse almost fainted.
They took her to a surgeon,
“We cannot save your hands,” he said.

She woke up at six
in the morning.
Her children asked,
“What happened to you, Mama?”
“Stay calm,” she told them.
We will keep going forward.

Four days in the hospital.
The attorney said,
Stay calm, we will help you
They promised her a house,
School for her children

But they did nothing.
All lies.

She waited for groceries,
They said they would come.
Get up, she told her kids,
Let’s go to the factory.
“What are you doing here?”
I told you I’d pay for everything,
said the supervisor.
“What do you want?”

He gave her 50,000 pesos.
(Look that up if you don’t know
how much it is worth)

An attorney took her case
He tried for five months
and nothing came of it.
“Case will be too long”
Another told her:
“Why don’t you take a cup
And go stand over that bridge?”
(Take advantage
of your missing hands, he said).

It’s been five years
When something happens to you
Don’t stay quiet
Or things will keep
and happening.

This is what Rosa Moreno tells us
with her missing hands
and eloquent tongue.

–March 10, 2016.