Amos: Of Africa

Prophet leaning on my desk
you utter in an undertone
story of sister, brother
dead their children adrift on
foreign shores. And you
as foreign here.

Fluorescent lights x-ray your
hollow cheeks, expose your
insufficient coat, you
senior brother to the mail
that begs for food, school,
shelter, midnight wages
you work and wish to give.

You tell how brothers plant
four acres and harvest
"maybe this much" maize,
a briefcase full, your tattered one

Our mingling tears remind
your pain to represent
a people's eating seed corn
to survive today.

Evelyn Mattern was a member of the Sisters for Christian Community and worked as a lobbyist and organizer for the North Carolina Council of Churches when this poem appeared.

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