Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EMIGRATION, by LISA DOMINGUEZ ABRAHAM

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

EMIGRATION, by            
First Line: Last week I scrubbed yellow shadows
Subject(s): United States - Foreign Population; Women

Last week I scrubbed yellow shadows
from my bedroom wall, erasing
the last traces of wedding pictures
carefully stored away.
For a moment, emptiness felt clean.
But each night as my children
turn through sleep,

I dream I am my grandmother
raising a lantern
as she crosses a wet field in Zacatecas
to bargain with a ghost
for the gold it guards.
It's 1910. Yesterday
government soldiers slaughtered
all her chickens, sliced the corn field with bayonets.
Tonight her daughters shiver in the barn
and pray. I'm frightened,
feeling my legs inside her skirts

until courage contracts
to a metallic taste on my tongue.
Coiled around a filthy sack
in a shallow cave, the ghost
lets me grab just a handful of gold
and wake up, gripping my own thumbs.

Guitarrons thrum from the clock-radio.
On folded newspapers, three paint cans.
I'll pry open the lids,
stir lilac, white and green,
then paint my walls with pictographs -
a band of women traveling
toward a country they've never seen.

Copyright Lisa Dominguez Abraham
Prairie Schooner is a literary quarterly published since 1927 which
publishes original stories, poetry, essays, and reviews. Regularly cited in the
prize journals, the magazine is considered one of the most prestigious of the
campus-based literary journals.

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