Domitila Speaks To The Earth

For us, the principal work was not to fight against our companeros but with them to change the system for another one, where men and women may have the right of life, work, and of our own organization.
--Domitila Barrios de Chungara, speaking about the 1975 UN Tribune in Mexico City.

You know that I will live in you too few places
ever to live.
Bolivia, woman of Americas.

But I am living now.
Dust from ore from heaving mines.

As summer scorches the mountains.
Below ground women of the sharing heart
consider nothing, only work
alongside their men, their hands
picking tin in noonday night.

You, woman I have known a week,
every morning you arrive with a different
dress; but not me.
You, woman I have known a week,
what equality are we to speak about?

I am living
yet you see me
only as a clown to applaud.
What of those men
who cough out their eyes,
whose lungs blacken and blind,
who cannot nourish their children?
A woman who marches, protests, cries;
a woman who bears a dead
child in prison because of
beating and torture.
Yes, we both are women;
that is all.

Earth, by your own narrow habit
you have twisted human wool.
Bound yarn of our dependence to weave
your own rug, a Mercedes enclave.
Have even walked the tops
on white walls
where you set glass fangs against your fear,
canine walls to cut arms
stretching toward bread.
You've stomped black leather in the streets
and clattered them empty
and drank alone in your walls
after you took men
and ran them jerking with electric
wires poked into testicles.

In the antistrophes of politics
there's a truth the sharing heart sometimes finds...
For now Domitila cries out to Denmark
coming again from inside
the dark of her mother.
Bolivia.
Strong mining woman of Americas.

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