Bread and Butter

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 15:02 -- cbecke9

It is hot

The window is open, but the breeze only brings in dust and dry heat

We have asked for fans

Because enough young girls have fainted

They tell us we will soon have them

But soon has been years


So I hunch over the sewing machine

A bead of sweat runs off my forehead

Past my nose

And drips off my chin

Onto the fabric below


We cannot afford the luxury of air conditioning in the home either

My children cry to me on hot, sweltering summer nights

This pains me far worse than my thirteen hour shift

Or the twelve cents I receive per garment

To hear my children cry to me is far more agonizing

Than any labor I do in the factory


But even worse is when they cry of hunger

This week they were sent to bed with no supper

Only a slice of bread and butter

Because mommy had to pay the rent


They ask how come the other kids don’t have holes in their shoes

I tell them mommy’s sorry

That they deserve all the beautiful shoes in the world

But that its more important to eat than to look pretty


When I close my eyes, I see fabric

I dream of the colorful patterns,

I can feel the textures of cotton and nylon in my sleep


But in my nightmares

My children starve

And sweat all night

I see their red little faces

And I see their brown, tattered clothing

Instead of colorful patterns


And I wake up crying,

“Mommy’s sorry, she’s doing her best!”

But the nightmares won’t make them pay me a substantial wage

So my children are hungry


Fashion is glamourous when you walk the runway

Not when you are the one behind the curtain

This poem is about: 
My country
Our world


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