Magdalena, she of the coffee bean hair, skin of coriander
and twilight, almond-eyed, trekked from Tegucigalpa, through
a gauntlet of money condors and stone faced violators of women,
resisting a desert’s dessicating heat and the blanching of forsaken
Magdalena survived her odyssey to arrive here, in this place,
inside a rest stop somewhere along an interstate highway,
behind the counter, under these garish lights, to sell me
a hamburger, some greazy fries, and a milkless shake.
The imperium demands heroism from its victims,
then imposes gangrenous mediocrity,
spinning human beings into inert instrumentalities.
Neil Callender was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island. He went to college in Rhode Island and participated in the anti-apartheid movement then shaking campuses across the country. After having worked in the airline industry for fourteen years and been a member of the International Association of Machinists, he earned his MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2005. He currently teaches at Roxbury Community College. His work has appeared in two anthologies: Poets Against the Killing Fields and Liberation Poetry. Neil lives in the Boston area.