Spotlight on Poets: Fred Joiner – Solidarity


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.


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