Dana Guthrie Martin

Farm Labor Homes

Oscar is beside himself. The girls have learned
he loves bears because, in Spanish, the word bear
starts with O, like his own name. The girls

taunt Oscar with a stuffed bear almost as large
as he is, which they’ve carted in from a side room
in this small building that passes for a school.

You want to marry a bear, the girls tease.
Oscar presses the front of his body into the animal,
torques his back to the girls and their jeering.

To get even with them, Oscar says the F word, twice.
He kicks Maria as she tries to read her new book.
He sits on Alicia’s hair and refuses to move.

Later, alone, he wanders back into the side room,
where the bear rests on the floor. Oso, oso, oso,
he says. My bear, my bear. I am so sorry.

“Farm Labor Homes” first appeared in Barrow Street.

Dana Guthrie Martin lives in Kansas City with her husband, Jon, and their beloved Chihuahua, Cricket “Miss B” Hayden. Her work appears in Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012), and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). She is the founding editor of Cascadia Review, an online poetry journal dedicated to showcasing the work of poets in the Cascadia bioregion. Earlier this year, Martin was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency. She thanks all blood and plasma donors for their life-saving donations to those in need. She blogs about poetry, health, and other topics on her site.