On the curving, dusty roads
we drove through the plantations
where the pickers balanced on the hot hillsides..
no poor man,
with a brown face and an empty sack,
has ever picked his way out of.
A the inn we stepped from the car
to the garden, where tea
was brought to us scalding in white cups from the fire.
Don't ask if it was the fire of honey
or the fire of death, don't ask
if were determined to live, at last,
with merciful hearts. We sat
amongst the unforgettable flowers.
We let the white cups cool before
we raised them to our lips.
I have lived this journey of Mary's. I have had brown hands serve me cafe con leche - beans picked by scorched hands, cows milked by a man earning $2 a day, and my needs served in white cups from a mother of four who lost two children as infants to treatable diseases. In such incongruency, hearts open up and ask, why me? Why aren't the tables reversed where I am serving others from my long labor of facing little choice on how to nourish myself and my family? Perhaps these questions are too hot to answer and my privileged life style cannot take in the heat of these questions, and still stay sane in my own situation. These people - the workers, pickers, and servants of the world are unforgettable flowers of beauty. Let their beauty help me recommit my life as a picker. By anguishing and picking choices I can raise others' hands to my lips to kiss and perhaps help others raise themselves out of the ashes of fires serving me, the inheritor of neocolonialist fires that ravaged the world. I bow down and kiss the earth, now, in prayer for this to be so.
Where do you see economic disparity in your life and what choices do you make based on this reality?