Mexicans in the Fields
Early in the morning the Mexicans gather
at the edge of the fields,
their pickups bright in a line that runs the distance.
It is early. The fog has not yet lifted
and they are ghostly figures with hat
as they prepare to harvest the sweet potatoes.
Big wooden bins are stacked at one end,
ready for the faint orange harvest.
It is backbreaking work, but they are grateful for it.
Grateful too that here is it not so hot,
a cooler state than where their brothers labor down south.
They begin. No nonsense. Professionals at what they do.
By day’s end, the rows will be upended.
The great wooden boxes will be full and ready to ship.
a days work before they move to the next farm.
On Sundays, you can find them at the local diner.
THey come with their families and laughter.
Sitting across from them, you fall in love with their joy.
You wish they were your neighbors,
that you could become godparents to their children
and learn to dance with them on Saturday nights.
But that is not to be in this land of immigrants.
They will do their work, finish the farms and leave,
their only mark on the fields and tables full of food,
not even wanted, they carry their roots with them,
and we live in this place where we feed manure to the ground,
missing completely the opportunity to become new,
our laughter stale
and lacking in color
that we could, we should, claim as our own.
About this poem.
Driving to my favorite diner this morning, the Mexicans were gathered in one of the local fields, about to go to work harvesting sweet potatoes. You only see them here in the beginning and end of the farm seasons. THey are an essential part of making farms work around here.
I have seen them at my favorite diner on Sundays. They really do bring their whole families and they are delightful. Now and then I get a chance to talk with them. I feel somehow we are richer, or could be richer, for knowing them. I know I am, even with the little time I get to see them.
In a land where so many despise them, I have come to love them. And not just when I eat sweet potatoes.