Lorraine Gow



Since immigrating from Honduras, Lorraine Gow has crossed many other borders: from earning an Education Specialist Masters to writing poems and short stories about the struggles of being black, speaking Spanish, making tamales wrapped in banana leaves and living in a country where the term black Hispanic is stranger than alien.


First Epistle To Field Hands

It’s a stampede to begin a new life,
you dreamers stranded in a place of milk and
slightly soured honey.
They have all sold you a bill of goods:
colloquial homages to freedom,
liberty, money and a future
to which your sons and daughters will cling –

Tightly to temporary success,
until the luck and hope and prayers to
the Virgin go unanswered,
the determination becomes exhausted,
the flesh tires of the circus.
The narrative gets too complicated to digest
and on the back page,
too real to envision –

Another day of stale tortillas,
spread with poverty, and way pass the promise
to look after each other
as a side order in America,
made a bit more conceit
by skin color, nose shape,
hair texture and paternal linage
just to keep sane –

As you have studied and learned
the political tidal waves,
and have kept your head above the waterline,
and your culture to the back
where mamacita whispers the
words taco, frijóles, and masa to
the sitting judge her daughter has become.


The Perplexity Of An Egg Cream

I whisper this word so that only my ears and those of great, great, grandfather Davidson listens.
I make the Hamantash pastry to celebrate Queen Esther with pineapple and mango ’cause these are the fruits of my people, but great, great, grandfather Davidson preferred poppy seeds with a hot cup of Earl Grey Tea.
I find myself transplanted to Brooklyn, fighting an egg cream fix. No one in So Cal can even remember the recipe or the temperament for the mixing of chocolate syrup, seltzer water and milk.
Great, great, grandfather Davison is dead – his Jewishness washed by a transfusion of African, Spanish and Mayan bloods, each demanding recognition, and each reeling from indifferences; some still drying off their wetbacks.
I want an egg cream.
I shout, but no one even processes my plea. It too has been circumvented by Vietnamese condensed milk with soda water or Korean sweet milk with muskmelon or Mexican rice milk chocolate. And I tell them all, “no!”
An EGG CREAM is what I want.
Great, great, grandfather Davidson would have welcomed this challenge, “Narish, so much more important things to worry over. You tried a thandai?”
I know differently.
Tomorrow will repeat the defeat of today, and the future will look back to see how silly borders have been.
“I still want an egg cream,”
I whisper this so that no one knows – there is no egg in an egg cream.


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