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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 236 words
By Virginia A. Smith

No Country for Young Lawyers

Honduran killings fall like rain 
on Roatan—always, on any—

grandmothers, babies, gangs. 
Cartels robbed our culture, old 

ways gone, night promenade 
through San Pedro Sula square 

only an echo. A bad place for 
lawyers, single mothers, I 

fled fast with my daughters, 
a price on us all when I 

could not, would not get the drug 
king freed from jail. Jehovah’s 

Witnesses flew us fast 
to Philly, our new home here, 

where I shop Cousins Hispanic 
supermarket for mango, 

plantain, oxtail for stew, 
Pediasure for my baby 

to grow, all aisles singing 
with Spanish, so nice. I make 

my own business, Nelsy’s 
Cleaning, dazzle clients 

with my speed, detail work, 
the polish I give their kitchens, 

mirrors I make of their floors. 
Good cash money, safer than 

Honduran law. I put myself 
in God’s hands to bless me 

with more work, our own home. 
My oldest wants Christmas, 

American Girl dolls, but I 
tell her we Witness, no more 

Feliz Navidad, I know Jesus 
did not ask us to lay tinsel 

on trees, give gifts on his birthday. 
Last night in my dreams Tony 

Hernandez, from jail, ordered 
my girls and me shot in the head, 

so I rescue them from school in 
my new Honda Pilot, drive us 

through the air to Center City 
Macy’s where fake snow wreaths 

elf windows, white lights lace Santa’s 
Workshop, pure pagan magic. 



—From the poet’s book-in-progress, America’s Daughters & Other Poems, a series of 20 woman-voiced interior monologues.

Virginia A. Smith
Issue 11, January 2022

lives in Fairmont, Philadelphia, her adopted city, where she reads and writes, hikes and bikes, serves as a home chef/caterer, and loves on her family and friends. Her poems are published in Blue Lake Review, Corvus Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, Mobius, Quartet, The Southern Review, Uppagus, Verdad, and Yes Poetry; and forthcoming in Evening Street Review, West Trade Review, and a handful of anthologies. Her book Biking Through The Stone Age is forthcoming in 2022 from Kelsay Books. And she is currently at work on a collection entitled America’s Daughters & Other Poems.

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