Migrant Burden

Migraine headache

___a migrant backache

______from father to son.

An American daughter-in-law

_____our burden together.

 

Donna wears her emotions

on a flushed pale face

washed with ivory cream

___what she brings to the table

white rice

_________mother taught her to wash and steam.

 

Her father and brother wonder

why I never finished business school,

but her mother is happy

her daughter is happy.

 

We drink red wine, Sonoma,

Sunday afternoons,

after everyone gets home from church;

sitting on the verandah

______watching working cars go by

speaking of Marx and Aquinas

 

they are intrigued

but don’t understand

___my religion

______something Donna picked up

when we met at Catholic school

___after late morning mass

I was studying alone

__________________in my room

my father wanted a private education

 

I don’t show the pain

father says I have

__________________a hard case, a soft heart

hidden from the people I know

 

especially Donna’s little brother

whom I gave shooting lessons:

perfect aim and technique—

elbow in, shoulders squared

—but no concentration,

unnerved easily

something his father detests

 

my son’s burden

a homeless father

telling him he needs to be home

by midnight instead of orchard parties

surrounding pumpkin patches,

where the girls are prone

to get naked and pregnant.

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