"Exile, Self-selected"

I'll have to find time in a little while to report on my experiences yesterday at WorldCon--at the moment I'm exhausted, because of a combination of that and things going on here, but I wanted to direct you to my poem, which is now published at MindFlights, "Exile, Self-selected."

This was written specifically for the contest, which had a theme of exile. It seems that immigrants have been showing up more and more frequently in my writings lately, and this is no exception--it was imagined as something of an homage to the migrant workers I used to work with in the onion fields and Christmas-tree fields of Western Michigan. For six summers beginning at age 9, I worked for two different onions, carrots, and parsnips farms in the rich soil of what had once been a shallow lake that was drained by early settlers. We could jump on some of the fields and feel the entire ground shake because of the water that was still there in pockets. About twenty years later, and much of that soil is drier, far less rich. Then for two summers I worked swinging a machete all day long to trim Christmas trees. So this is for H├ęctor Sr. and Jr. and all the rest.