June 6, 2011
Featured Writers, Spotlight on Poets
By Fred Joiner
Every night a woman, at least as old
as my mother, with a walk labored like
my grandmothers last steps;
enters my office to clean.
Tonight is our last night in the building.
She and I talk like old friends parting ways
for the last time or new friends leaving
each other for the first.
She utters a few words to me in her
smiling Spanish and English. My tongue searches
for the right response in my labored Spanish.
we both laugh when she notices me
watching her sifting through the things
my employer has instructed me to discard
we both laugh knowing
She finds a small black pouch
big enough to hold a month’s pay
in her bosom. she shows me the pouch
mimes to me how she will hide it
from hands hungry full of want.
She put her hand on her chest
says “El Salvador”, I tell her I am
from DC, “Anacostia” I say.
she nods. she knows;
we have learned to live well
off what others abandon.