The baby was lifted in its flowing shroud
And carried through the red-lit streets,
Floating above the raised fists of men
In headcloths. The wrapped body a cloud,
Pall burden so light, it seemed weightless
Crowning the mad cortege. That shape
Once living in her arms—that shape
I mirrored, newborn at my breast. Shroud
So light it became an unsupportable weight,
As TIME fell open before me. I was the street
Going up in flames, but couldn’t see it, in the cloud
Of fire, her face. What dark veil or wall of men
Hid her? TIME opened to the images of men.
I couldn’t see her; just her grief, unraveling shape,
White streaming from the breast. That cloud
Of chants, bitter witness to the small shroud
Held high. She stood away from the fiery street—
The monument of her shadow,
Cathy Ellorin has to fight for each and every hour of her job. In fact, she has to fight to convince the people who pay her that what she does is a job at all. It’s not as though she works short hours; actually, she gets no time off at all. Her job isn’t easy, either.
Cathy is currently employed as an in-home caretaker to her daughter Natalia, who has cerebral palsy. California State’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) provides Cathy with financial support to enable her to stay at home with Natalia and keep her safe and happy. But Cathy has to fight to keep this support coming.
From the first years of Natalia’s life, Cathy could tell something wasn’t right. Natalia’s tremors were disconcerting enough, but the daughter’s inability to feed properly was far worse.
Cathy took Natalia to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for a wide range of neurological testing,
In my job I use
a tiny torch
it opens and closes as I stitch
metal with a syringe of light
bright as a drop of sun. I try
not to look but two white spots
burn at the back of my eyes.
In one I see
the other jobs I’ve had –
cleaning up inn rooms
— someone else’s stain.
In the other: years
nearly starving on the farm
never enough, no wheels, no
way to town.
these two spots the men
who wanted something and me
just trying to make it work.
implies something remains,
but want is all it is.
in little squeezes of light
that whisper and cut
are months and years my history
in this brazier that captures and holds,
hardens and glows.
Source: The Dos Passos Review,
(They drive our trains and buses, teach our children, repair our roads and protect our safety. Public employees perform these and countless other jobs, although they remain mostly off the radar of the public they serve. With our new “Pro Publica” series, Frying Pan News presents the lives of these men and women front and center.)
After 10 years of marriage, Aisha Blanchard-Young’s husband is still shocked by the amount of time Aisha spends in her kindergarten classroom teaching. He jokes that if someone really wants to find out what it is like to be a teacher, they should talk to a teacher’s spouse. As a quality control technician for a stadium electronics company, he never has to take his work home. Aisha isn’t as lucky.
During the school year Aisha gets up at five in the morning to ready herself and the couple’s two boys (one 5 and one 2) for the day.