There is no time to complain,
only time to move as fast as you can
through the rows of low-lying shrubs,
the tall stalks.
The people of the fields leave
the complaining to the rest of us,
driving by on our way to work,
Me, I want to hear them complain:
about people who eye them suspiciously,
accuse them of stealing these American jobs,
about machines coming to take their place
I want to hear them complain about
I want to see them with fists in the air,
walking out into picket lines
as they have done for generations.
I want to hear them complain about their non-existent history
in the books their children read
in schools built on the edge of the crop rows,
when they should be taught about those past picket lines.
I want our town to miss them
and their money
flowing through Salinas.
I want them to stop working
leave us wondering how we will grow
for agricultural barons.
I want their work loud
announcing their presence,
demanding notice for their humanity,
for everything they give to this country,
to this earth.
But in the fields,
there is only time to work
to feed children
to feed futures into families
to usher the next generation
out of these goddamn fields.
Aideed Medina is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, spoken word artist, and playwright, and daughter of Miguel and Lupita Medina of Salinas, California, and the United Farm Workers movement. She is the author of 31 Hummingbird and a forthcoming full-length poetry collection, Segmented Bodies, from Prickly Pear Press.