"22 Mountain" by Alena Hairston

The tyranny of pig boys: brotherhood of menchildren whose hands split coal
and faces that sweat more than smile, like their own.
But they do not own these sweating faces that shout and pray, like their own.
And they are not home and, thus, they are not welcome. Nor welcoming.
Homelessness makes home for the despot: even the caress of clover or phlox
does not sway cruelty when cruelty knows its own.

Yet there are those who plow for other water, dare love through any loam.
Exogamists, willing history and death, but more, smiling lives beyond their own.

Children    born    in    a land of mines to daughters and sons of tunnelwalkers, estranged,
must smile, for their first picture of the world is a tiny window of mulberry
and faces fighting surprise. They smile because they are born
from a dare men who eat their own flesh must abide.

From "22 Mountain" from The Logan Topographies by Alena Hairston. Copyright © 2007 by Alena Hairston. Published by Persea Books.