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

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

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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