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Days of Earthen Houses

by Sharon Hawley


Slaves in Egypt


bricks without straw

mud along the Nile


“Another day older
deeper in debt”
mud along Pakistan’s Indus River
Adobes of New Mexico

adobes of Palomas, Mexico


brick-makers of Pakistan




Drying bricks shrink from wood


dry hard on edge in summer sun


their makers deep in debt




Brick in mortar


adobe in mud


the walls of slavery rise




Lintels rough-sawn cut from pine


bond beam tops the wall—


concrete, steel, and sweat




Vigas visible overhead


herringbone aspen spans between


flat roof of tar and gravel




Gravel to block the sun


canales through the parapet


drain the rain and rancor




Wire and scratch-coat cover the walls


Brown-coat, color-coat, sponge-troweled


rounded all around




gypsum plaster and sand inside


hard troweled Structolite – pearlited gypsum plaster


white paint curves around us




as in Spain, so in Mexico,


so New Mexico, and Pakistan


terracota bricks, Earth Day, earth houses

From dust of the earth

dwellings rise


from Faisalabad
to slaves along the Nile

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