La Nina en La Calle

La Nina en La Calle

A Poem by Marie Anzalone
"

I see a little girl with her mom in a small town in Guatemala

"

La Nina en La Calle,
To the little K’akchikel girl who caught my eye in Santiago Sacatepequez one day in June 2006

La nina en la calle...

A rainbow upon her back, runs along
laughing and smiling,
racing against the little boys.
Not yet has she learned about Place, a thing taught
One heavy-handed lesson at a time,
One admonishment at a time,
One male doctrine at a time.

Tradition-proud, the mothers follow behind,
bearing their children and their vows of silence
in the rainbow colored raimants upon their backs.
Unaware, perhaps, that these same backs, and countless ones before them,
bent over looms and washbasins and fields,
contain the strength that has carried entire nations
to either rise with pride or fall with dignity
through each dark, blood soaked male chapter of human history.

I walk behind them, uncomfortable in both my gender and my race,
my life comparatively encumbered with unspeakable luxury.
Much more separates me than skin color and clothing.
A foreign mother’s dark eyes look to me,
curiously, imploringly,
they have heard vague rumors of a place
of Magic:
where women, like me, can choose education, birth control, and to own property.

Here I wander in their land, ostensibly to assist the poor, but
What can I really offer them?
What they want is not mine to give, and I am a drab, paltry thing
compared to these living rainbows.
For a wanderer like myself, there is something to be said about knowing Place,
a richness in the doctrine of coming Home.

I have no easy answers or solutions or wisdom for them.
If I could, I would give them my country’s best, but not its greed,
its wealth but not its riches,
and relinquish its iron grip on the world, that subdues lesser cultures into knowing their Place,
invariably incurring yet more burdens upon their women’s backs.
This is a place where half the population is under age nineteen.

The little girl runs on unaware
While her mother smiles wistfully at her, and adjusts
a rainbow shawl into position for nursing yet another child,
unashamedly baring a heavy dark breast to place in her tiny infant’s mouth.
Maybe she catches a fleeting memory of the grace period
that accompanies early childhood, or maybe, like me,
she prays for a different future for this girl.

A future where men and women walk, in step,
beside each other,
building a place ,
One vision at a time,
One brick at a time,
One prayer at a time,
and where the hope of a nation need not be a burden on the backs of its underserved gender.
Where women have found the voices lost for centuries,
and rainbow clad little girls can move ahead:
walking, skipping, running, advancing, dancing-
towards a more rightful Place.

It is a lot of hope , and a heavy burden, that I project onto one little girl in the street.


© 2013 Marie Anzalone



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Featured Review

The artist in me says I would love to draw or film this with you reading yourself as the voice over. It covers so much ground as a write. It is visual, evocative, memorable, visceral and complete as a memeory history unto itself.
I find this one fascinating Marie.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

4 Years Ago

Thanks, Ken. This is one of the very few surviving works from my time as a Peace Corps volunteer 11 .. read more



Reviews

The artist in me says I would love to draw or film this with you reading yourself as the voice over. It covers so much ground as a write. It is visual, evocative, memorable, visceral and complete as a memeory history unto itself.
I find this one fascinating Marie.

Posted 4 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Marie Anzalone

4 Years Ago

Thanks, Ken. This is one of the very few surviving works from my time as a Peace Corps volunteer 11 .. read more
Such a sobering vision of the world we ignore. A brief glimpse into the freedom of a child before her world is shredded by the steel hand that forces her into her "place". How many generations must this continue before the balance comes?

How can we *not* feel guilty as we live in obscene affluence that is not shared with the world around us? How can we not want those children to grow in freedom?

A very moving piece, Marie. Very well written.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 28, 2009
Last Updated on April 1, 2013

A Pilgrimage in Epistles: Poems as Letters and Observations


Author

Marie Anzalone
Marie Anzalone

Xela, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala



About
Bilingual poet, essayist, novelist, and technical writer working in Central America. "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, .. more..

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