20130415

Aileen Ibardaloza


MMXXXVIII.


exploit
wage recourse
stamina anguish blithe

He chose to define “exploit” as a “heroic feat.” Akin to “building islands,” and keeping parts of his rice farm flooded, so migratory birds can have a place to “feed and breed”—much like rest stops, which he knew about. The same way he knew about seasonal movements, as he was once a migrant worker, itinerant, and dependent on periods of harvest and rest.

He has come to understand, however, that “exploit” can also mean abuse misuse. For the sake of argument, there it is, in the form of garnished wages and recourse loans. Or the liquidation of assets gained over time (except those listed in Schedule C, such as residence situated on a farm owned and operated by the farmer at the time of retirement; cash on hand, say, $37; savings account, $263; checking account, $154; household goods, $2,000; pictures etc, $50; clothing, $330; and pension, for the sake of simplicity, unknown). Consider the anguish brought on by death contracts and broken benches (etymologically, mortgages and bankruptcies). Consider the required stamina.

Nevertheless, he still chooses to define “exploit” as a “heroic feat.” The same way he chooses to think of providing a safe haven for migratory birds an act of “adoption.” Until they are able to traverse the flyway—some to Alaska, in the spring, and others, to Patagonia, in the fall. He thinks there is something redeeming in this, that is to say, the placing of someone else’s best interests before one’s own. So he welcomes them each year, once in the spring, and once in the fall. Precocial creatures—short-billed, long-billed, black-necked, strikingly blue-winged—seemingly free and blithe. Consider such feat, such effortless flight.




Aileen Ibardaloza spent her professional life gallivanting fearlessly from one industry to another. At one point, she had three full-time jobs in the space of a year. But no matter where she goes, or what she does, she somehow manages to end up back in writing. She is the author of the poetry collection, Traje de Boda (Meritage Press, 2010), and Associate Editor of Our Own Voice Literary Ezine. She is currently at work on her second poetry manuscript.
 
 
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