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Jennifer Lagier

Jennifer Lagier has published fifteen books and in a variety of anthologies and literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle Press), Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press), Camille Mobilizes (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming title: Trumped Up Election (Xi Draconis Books). Website: jlagier.net Facebook: www.facebook.com/JenniferLagier/

A Matter of Conscience

for Maria Corralejo

First I see the 
women cannery workers on strike
whose only bargaining tools
consist of eight days
of prayer and self-imposed hunger.

Today, SureƱo gang members
carry management-provided weapons,
patrol concertina wire corridors
between busloads of scabs
and picket-line labor.

My friend,
the tenth child
of immigrant field hands,
describes 400 women and children
falling to their knees,
dragging themselves slowly
in protest
toward a church
down the Watsonville highway.

Sometimes, she tells me,
there is nothing left
to place between greed
and the poor
except our own bodies.

(Previously published in Voices in Italian Americana, Fall 1996)