HARD GRACE

Hair like liquid onyx falls past her face
while she works over the fingers of her customers.
Her skill is hypnotic to watch as
deftly she forms each perfect nail
then paints it like fine china
only swiftly. This is commerce, not art.
Day in, day out, she breathes dusty air through a white mask,
accompanied by the drone of her Dremel file
and saves money to return home.
Her sleep’s still broken by nightmares.
Her entire family died in the war. Of this she never speaks.
When she speaks of home, it is only of its beauty and of old friends.
A dog-eared tome of Thich Nhat Hanh rests by her chair.
She works hard: plans, saves, yearns.
Her daughter, born American, has no desire to live in the “old country”.
She has her own dreams: college, a young man, children – her dreams
hold no room for quaint villages, palm trees and unexploded ordnance.
Soon she’ll be pregnant.

What profession will Iraqi women adopt when they arrive here?
What tools will refugees from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon use
To wrest grace from the jaws of “Shock and Awe”?

 

Published in Friends Journal February 2011

Photo Credit
Contract Between Two Trees
Tay Ninh Viet Nam © Truong Hoang Huy Ngan Ngan Truong
Dreamstime.com

Published by

Cynthia M. Sheward

Cynthia Sheward has written poetry since she was a child. She was born in Massachusetts but spent her young life in New Jersey. She applied her English degree from Arcadia University teaching junior-senior high school in Vermont the 70’s. In the 80s, she and her husband built their own house with their own hands in the mountains of North Carolina. In the 90s, she returned to NJ where she worked for a Fortune 500 corporation until her retirement. Her work has been published in Friends Journal, Evening Street, the Bennington Banner, Fiber Arts Magazine, the Mountain Times and various other print media. She currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

2 thoughts on “HARD GRACE”

  1. Along with every thing which appears to be building inside this particular subject material, all your opinions are very radical. Even so, I am sorry, but I do not give credence to your entire strategy, all be it exciting none the less. It looks to me that your commentary are generally not totally rationalized and in fact you are yourself not even completely confident of your assertion. In any event I did appreciate reading through it.

    Like

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