[ ‘Heavy Yoke’ was published in Wordgathering,
A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, Volume 9, Issue 3,
on September 11, 2015, at http://www.wordgathering.com/issue35/poetry/loke.html ]
I strain under the sun’s wet-hot weight.
Cars and motorbikes flash past me.
I am an old bull in India,
yoked to a cart fully loaded
with sacks of rice and spices.
When I turn, lift, or lower my head,
yoke becomes a worrying blade.
I am a labourer in a dusty quarry in rural China.
A pole with heavy baskets loaded with gravels
weighs on my shoulders.
Down uneven paths, my uneven steps
throw the load from shoulder to shoulder.
I load and unload,
day after day, from sunrise to sunset.
Under a red hot Bangladeshi sun,
walking bare-footed over broken bricks,
I am a child labourer
carrying two stacks of freshly baked bricks
on top of my head, as high as
my up-stretched hands can reach.
Sometimes, I lean forward
to carry the stacks of bricks on my back,
held by my back-stretched arms and hands.
I load the waiting trucks repeatedly
My young neck and shoulders stiffen.
My thin arms burn with pain.
My small hands are full of old scars and new wounds.
My scarred back and spine hurt constantly.
The heavy yoke, the bricks, the pole, the load—
still on my neck, head, arms, hands, back and shoulders.
A Bullock in Salem Market. Photo by Thamizhpparithi Maari.
CC A-S A 3.0 Unported license. via-https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_bullock_cart.JPG
Nepali girls working in brick factory. Photo by Krish Dulah. CC By SA 3.0 Unported License. via- ttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Child_labour#/media/File:Child_labour_Nepal.jpg
© 2015 K-KLokePhD