Migrant

MigrantPOSTED ON DECEMBER 7, 2015Traveling by railway we follow seasonal harvests across the country, our   bodies huddled in the freezing box car.  Maria gave birth to a baby boy on the cold floor.  We are not Hoboes, not homeward bound. We are seeking work, we are used to hardship.The sting of citrus scents the air. At times it is so quiet in the fields the thud of rotting fruit can be heard when it reaches the earth.  There is little conversation, the crop overseer keeps a close eye and the threat of being reported undocumented is as real as a bull whip.Maria has strung a sheet separating the cots in the one room shed we share with another family.  Their children lie on a pallet on the unheated floor; they fall asleep to the sounds of copulation.  Perhaps someday they will have a door to close.I  awaken before dawn and join the men and abled bodied women waiting at the corner where the grove owner will select the workers he will take to the fields.  I have brought my gloves; Today I feel  I will be one of the  chosen.  Yesterday I went home empty handed.It frightens me to see Maria so frail, her skin barely covering her brittle bones and  her dark  fists of fear eyes. Her milk drying up with the rest of her,  the baby cries.  I worry for myself. If she dies I don’t know what will happen to the child.  Just the two of us, I know I can’t do it. This morning her desperate eyes stare into mine. I look away from the hunger and fear. She knows  if she dies I will leave the boy behind.  Inside my boot I  feel the imprint of the stolen knife blade against my ankle. This morning I take my desperation with me.  Today I must do something.

Source: Migrant