The mothers sit in plastic lawn chairs clinking together brown bottles of beer with limes squeezed into the tops, periodically pulling light green pieces of pulp from their lips. One of them turns on the radio that is lying in the grass next to a stack of magazines and a clay ashtray. The mothers start to tap their feet, and Luciá, who is sitting beside me, reaches her hand over and pats my arm in time with the music. Her hand is heavy and hot, and physically links me to the line of Mexican women beside me. Sixteen and pale, wearing a t-shirt from the Ohio State Fair and jelly bracelets on my left wrist, I am sure that I look like something recently added, remembered, and tacked on at the last minute: a name on an assignment, a date on a photo, a card on a gift
- Lauren Culley, Party for Flor Pequeña
I love how Lauren Culley is able to take a very specific group of people – migrant workers living in the Yakima Valley of Washington – and breathe life into them through her narrative skill. Rather than rely on the archetype of the ‘hardworking immigrant’ that often plays into reader’s expectations, Culley instead crafts a scene that transcends assumptions about migrant life and focuses on one singular event that reveals the depth of these people.