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Syndic Literary Journal

A Matter of Conscience

(for Maria Corralejo)

By Monterey Bay Poet Jennifer Lagier

I see women cannery workers on strike

whose only bargaining tools

consist of faith, eight days

of prayer and self-imposed hunger.


Today, Sureño gang members

carry management-provided weapons,

patrol concertina wire corridors

between busloads of scabs and picket-line labor.


My friend, the tenth child

of immigrant field hands,

describes 400 women and children

falling to their knees,

dragging themselves slowly

in protest toward a church

down the Watsonville highway.


Sometimes, she tells me,

there is nothing left

to place between greed

and the poor

except our own bodies.





Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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