Los Trabajadores Cantan
by James Iredell

    Through rows of un-picked strawberries,
    thick, cracked trunks of coast oaks,
    even under the lush of over-grown vine and blackberry needles,
    their songs sound sad and moaning--
    like a tired cow
    baying off the ranch-hand's careful eye
    standing over her newborn calf.

    Peer through the waist-high weeds
    gone tanned golden by the summer sun,
    and see the scarved heads of women,
    baseball or cowboy capped heads of men
    all singing out of tune, out of sync--
    see the smiles.

    Children in pickup trucks,
    hands placing strawberries in crates
    slung across backs;
    hands stained red from bursting berries,
    juice running down their fingers;
    hands caressing wind-worn young faces,
    knees brown with mud and blood-red
    from berries that have already fallen dead
    into the furrows between
    the rows and rows
    of green and red.

    Hear their song,
    it sounds almost as beautiful
    from this distance.

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