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September 27, 2021

Shrimp Boat

Photo by Nuno Obey on Pexels.

She tells me they are trying to get her down to 50-60hrs a week
And I wonder how many hours of her time she gives and keeps giving
I wonder how many hours her mind and spirit sacrifice
To call this “making a living”
That really has nothing to do with living,
just climbing a crooked latter,
spinning in a wheel
“They know we’re waiting to retire so they work us to the bone. They don’t care,” she says
Without a pause the words “fuck that” come forcefully out of my mouth
And when I ask her what she’d like to do instead she says, “I think it’d be fun to work on a shrimp boat – I mean it can’t be that hard right?”
And my eyes open wide, a smile comes across both my face & hers
For a moment her spirit has come to life with
possibility,
hope,
love even.
I hate to be the one to break it to her that the shrimp won’t be around for much longer,
but I tell her anyway
She says, “That would be hard to watch. I think I’ll make salsa instead.”
There is a pause and I can see her eyes drifting off into a place she hasn’t let herself go in awhile, a place that only exists in-between the thoughts “what if” and “maybe some day”
“We really are like slaves,” she says
And I want to take both my hands cupped around her face and shake her
Shake the doubt out of her
Shake the fear out of her
Shake the prison out of her
I want to tell her some day is
NOW
RIGHT NOW
I want to tell her she isn’t too old,
she isn’t too poor,
she isn’t a slave,
it isn’t too late to see the shrimp or make salsa
But I don’t
We sit there for a moment in silence and let our minds drift off
I can tell that we both know we’ve been doing this all wrong
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