Family Story, by Pamela Mordecai

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From A Fierce Green Place, a poetry collection, which will be published next month by New Directions.

My father fair
with his straight nose and hair
kept chickens and a goat:
no country bakra
citywise farming for him
a sheer subsistence
enterprise

He built boats too
and houses, furniture
with those fair hands
and tended cuts
and bruises
carefully

never kiss ass
never owe money
never cuss
never give less
than a day’s work
for a day’s pay

all of his life
minded his coolie wife
in love to sanity.
Careful then
how you cross me.


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