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Winnowing
(Escogiendo habichuelas)

Mama would say
"If they float throw them out.
Esas no sirven"
Somehow it made me sad.
I didn't know if I should keep
the half-gnawed beans.
I found gray pebbles,
stowaway peas,
tiny chips of wood.
"Just like life"
Mama would say
I separated good from the bad
winnowing granama's bowl of beans
at the kitchen table
the cool beans ran through my fingers
and into my heart.

 

Judy Vasquez
1984

 

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