Linda Scheller


They arrive in the fog before dawn
in unmarked yellow buses
and stuttering sedans filled beyond capacity.
Men and women with dark hair
beneath tight-fitting caps
huddle around the fire
at the edge of the fields.
The heavy sky is a shawl of poison,
and they work wrapped in its embrace
nurturing the wealth of their conquerors.
Bent over the earth—the home
they care for but do not own—
icy fingers and aching arms
reach and gather the harvest
while their dreams ride their backs
like children on horses.
The leaves whisper ancient stories,
the benediction of family
and the seasons of birth and childhood,
work and death. Beneath their toil
the earth smells sweet
like sheets washed in the river and 
dried in the sun—
the bed that waits, already made, for those 
who gaze at it every day and those who 
look away.