Fences

By Pat Mora Pat Mora
Mouths full of laughter,   
the turistas come to the tall hotel   
with suitcases full of dollars.   

Every morning my brother makes   
the cool beach new for them.   
With a wooden board he smooths   
away all footprints.   

I peek through the cactus fence   
and watch the women rub oil   
sweeter than honey into their arms and legs   
while their children jump waves   
or sip drinks from long straws,   
coconut white, mango yellow.   

Once my little sister   
ran barefoot across the hot sand   
for a taste.   

My mother roared like the ocean,   
“No. No. It’s their beach.   
It’s their beach.”   

Poem copyright ©1991 by Pat Mora, whose most recent book of poetry is “Adobe Odes,” University of Arizona Press, 2007. Poem reprinted from “Communion,” Arte Publico Press, University of Houston, 1991, by permission of the writer and publisher.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Pat Mora

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Social Commentaries, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Pat  Mora

Biography

Born in El Paso, Texas,  poet, writer, former teacher, university administrator, museum director, and consultant, Pat Mora is a popular national speaker who promotes creativity, inclusivity and bookjoy. She is the author of many books of poetry and children's books. Her book, House of Houses (2008), is a family memoir told in the voices of ancestors. Her newest book of nonfiction is Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Pat Mora

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Social Commentaries, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.