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Forjando el Destino.

Forjando el Destino

For Emma Tenayuca

   In the photo you are a young impassioned
   speaker
   fist raised. I can hear your voice, loud and
   clear.

   I ask "what gave you the courage, Emma?"
   I know the answer.
   With youth's passion you fought Injustice
   your young eyes saw pecan shellers
   suffering.

   Women. young and old, and children too.
   You worked alongside
   and smelled the acrid smell
   and felt the stifling heat
   and the dust covered your hands and your
   hair
   in spite of the scarf you wore
   and you heard them cough
   and you laughed with them
   and you cried with them
   Until it was time to say no more
   No more to wage cuts
   No more to unsafe conditions
   Time for the struggle to begin.
   Time for destiny to carry you on its wings.
   You had a gift. And you used it.
   Others followed. 12,000 workers walked
   away
   from poorly paid jobs
   and the bosses had to listen
   and the papers had to cover the story
   and you won. And lost.
   Had to go on your way
   Destiny led you to California away from the
   ex-husband
   away from the embarrassed relatives
   the nosy neighbors
   the prying reporters
   And Destiny brought you back
   a teacher
   a shaper of young minds
   to sustain language and culture
   fighting injustice in another terrain
   Your razor sharp mind never at rest, always
   working
   always thinking. The words and the thoughts
   almost
   too much. The books, the papers, your work.

   And honor and glory came late,
   your memory lives in the hearts of those
   who knew you
   those who never met you but honor your
   passion
   and join you in the struggle still not won.
   !Adelante!
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Title Annotation:Poetry by Norma Cantu/Poesia de Norma Cantu
Publication:Bilingual Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:281
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