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BOOKS & THE CULTURE Felicita’s Analysis of the Mexican Financial Crisis 1995 It’s the same, she says. Igual. You see, Seriora, where I come from you each have your little patch of earth, ours is coffee, and when the cold falls and the coffee won’t givewellthen Pancho with the papayas remembers the years when we did have coffee and the brother of the man who is the father of Xochi, for pure shame, will give us corn andwellin the market how are they to forget me? I’m not one of those who counts beans and there were the years when my mother’s beans filled 14 sacks. Do you think they’ll let my Leti and Hector and the other boy starve? Of course not! You see there, over there, the cousins and the uncles and everyone that has his little bit of strength has his obligation to help in the harvest and if it is time for the tejacotes well, Hectorcito’s 10 or 11, I forget, but he can climb those trees like a squirrel and pick the fruit without any bruising, and my Leti is good and strong and fetches the water we need and the water for the mother of the shameful bastard who is the father of Xochi who, thanks be to all the little angels in heaven, has never set eyes on his daughter. Then there’s the hens. Tell me, how would the politicos in the great city of Mexico hurt the hens in Santa Maria de la Asuncion? The way I see it, the hens go on the same. The eggs still have their yolk and their white part, true? There, over there, with all respect, we don’t care about the politicians. Right back in the time of Sr. Echevarria, they promised us a road from Bocla de Jimenez, where the buses pass, to the pueblos on the mountain. But it never even got started. Then later, with another president, I don’t remember who, they gave the men the tools and the cement, but the big machine for throwing aside the rocks never came. Months passed, and it never came, so the village men had to give back the tools. And for this we still walk, and the children who reach secondary school level can’t make it to Bocla de Jimenez, not only for the wear on their shoes, but for the distance and the lack of books. So what I say is, better they work in the city and that way they have their meat and rice and, in the evening, their little sugared breads and coffee, and for this their stomachs don’t hurt at night. Well, for us this crisis they are mentioning on the television doesn’t matter, because in my village only the priest has a television and he is not one of those who shares, not at all! Things don’t change for us, Seilora, it’s the same. Everything goes on the same. An egg continues to be an egg and the hens find food where they can. Sarah P. Wiseman Sarah P. Wiseman was born and grew up in Scotland, but lived in Mexico City for many years, where she edited numerous children’s books and magazines written and illustrated by Mexican authors and artists. A member of the Tramontane \(Italian writes poems and prose often centered on her vivid Scottish child hood. She and her husband John have recently moved to England. “Felicita’s Analysis of the Mexican Financial Crisis 1995” is the first prose poem we have featured on our “Books & the Culture” poetry page, but it surely won’t be the last. These days, journals featuring prose poems thrive widely. Some, such as Prose Poem International and Paragraph are devoted wholly to the form. I admire Wiseman’s use of the form here to present a close, comfortable voice which might seem more awkward rearranged in lined verse. Naomi Shihab Nye 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JULY 26, 1996