Poetry / December 2015 (Issue 30)

Migrant Workers Watching Migrant Workers

by Charlotte San Juan

In September humidity our wet selves
fold against kitchen counter, make long
sips of green tea in the lightless steam
of silence, broken by small echoey fits of phlegm

we study migrant workers, their bare, brown backs
across from us, barricaded in the membrane of
cigarette smoke, nest-wrapped in the skeleton of

bamboo scaffolding, against harsh stucco,
the gravel of their language fills the pit of that
unfurnished room, shapes it into laughter and thick,
horned arguments that tremble us.

They wade around the darkness curved,
the hollow, dead space, studying our equal
nakedness passing small waves that migrate
from window glass to window glass
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