In this port town built by foreign mining companies, not too far from the US-ranch-style former housing of their executives, behind strip mall stores displaying hundreds of styles of shoes, the latest fashions & electronics.
I glimpse your lives
as we speed by
In that treeless lot several dozen indigenous families live in shelters made of sapling posts, perhaps with walls of cloth, plastic sacks, cardboard, with roofs of tied-down plastic sheeting billowing in the wind of deep-grey clouds, with hard-packed dirt floors, with several net hammocks hanging, children resting, women breastfeeding, with clotheslines, stacks of firewood between each home, dark-skinned chamos playing, dogs & cats roaming, a man scraping a pot clean before putting it on the cook fire.
I glimpse your lives...
Out on the medians of broad boulevards, 1970s cars, SUVs racing rapidly past, your young daughters, young mothers, your abuelitas walk, hands outstretched for a few bolívares, fresh-flowered dresses brightening the grey day, the black pavement, the greyed air, thick feet planted into the rust-blood earth.
...as we speed by
You were driven many years ago from your delta lands dried up by the rerouting of the Orinoco to open shipping channels—Ay, where else could you go, except here, homeport of those mineral companies?
The wind grows harsher, scurrying garbage around the fenced-off lot next door, a flash of thin white lightning, sharp thunder as dusk arrives, your sons rushing home.
& when these daily rains come...
& when the night comes...
chamos — children
abuelitas — (affectionate) grandmothers
bolívares — monetary unit of Venezuela
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