For Those Who Would Feed My Third World People
by Lisa Haynes

    On late night TV
    you can listen to sad music
    while you look at hungry babies
    in foreign lands
    listen to a cultured voice
    tell you that for 30 bucks
    you can feed a village

    and you can cry for those sluggish babies
    with flies attacking
    their dry, empty mouths
    their vacant eyes

    They make you think
    you have to do something
    you carry the third world

    So you write a check and smile as you fix
    the stamp to your envelope

    It's nice and neat:
    your pocketbook opening up
    like a hooker's legs
    another buy out
    such a deal
    and then back to your real life

    and when the pictures come
    from far away
    you can take them to work
    show off the sweet smiling child you saved
    your mind at ease
    responsibility appeased

    It's a good thing for my people that
    we make pretty babies
    with shiny black hair,
    deer eyes,
    soft, friendly skin
    because pocketbooks get tight
    when you see a drunken Indian with a
    pock-marked face
    standing lopsided and blocking
    a city sidewalk
    when you want to pass

    his bottle raised to the sky
    body weaving and bobbing,
    searching for the steadiness of drums
    as he tries to remember a dance
    he learned as a child

    a sacred dance
    a hopeful dance

    a dance relinquished

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