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          The Streets of Oaxaca
          By Kim Ovrutsky

          Zapotec women are slicing watermelon,
          Flipping tortillas, chopping chicken and chilis
          Under sheets of plastic.

          A young mother huddles against
          The side of the cathedral, hand out,
          A crying toddler by her side,
          Her baby, reboso-wrapped, nurses.
          Every day she is at her station shoeless.

          Straw sombrero hiding his face,
          The street sweeper pushes his cart
          And twig broom uphill slowly.
          Here the ground is not safe, he thinks,
          As he passes a windowless, roofless
          Colonial wreck, rife with leftist graffitti.

          Off the main square wandering minstrels
          Sing of love and despair, await pesos
          From those from el norte,
          While waitresses serve up beer and moles.

          After singing and strumming all morning,
          The blind balladeer is led to the shady side
          By his granddaughters,
          Where he'll play until dark.

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Document last modified on: 11/05/2004

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