Two Poems by Alberta Jimenez
Los Campesinos
(The Peasant Farmers)


They rise at the crack of dawn
Before the morning’s sun
Greeting it from the fields

One by one
Laying their lunch pails down
By the road side
They step
Upon soft powdery dirt
Which rises
In light playful clouds
Around their Wolverine boots

Armed
With clippers
Gloves
And pride
They march into their rows

In a rhythm
Fred Astaire would envy
They move
Hand over hand
Row upon row

Snip
Clip
Snap
Plop
With juicy popping thuds

Those plump, succulent
Grapes
Filled with the juices of life
Fall to the spot
Where a laborer’s diligent child
Has quickly laid
A slick brown tray
To catch their fall.


Abuelita

My hear beat
Slowly
With worry
Of “Mi Preciosa”
Dying

From the very day
You
Entered the hospital
I worked diligently
To think of
Anything
But you
There

I came
To visit you briefly
Yesterday

When I did
I only sat
Watched
As your small
Frail body
Worked courageously
To simply breathe

You
One of two
Heroines
Of my childhood
Of my life

You
Who singlehandedly
Babysat two generations
Of the neighborhood
Who rose at 4:30 AM daily
So we’d rise
To fresh tortillas
You
Who kept our family
Together
With strength
Love
And lemon meringue pies

I watched
As tears
Flowed silently
From your closed eyes
And traced each one
As it moved
Down
Your gentle cheek
Matching them
With my own

Were you in pain?
Saying goodbye?
Scared?
Confused like us?

I watched helplessly
Unable to stop
As time
And death
Each held you
Ready
To take you home
While longing
For your laugh
Brilliance
Strength

Alberta Jimenez