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poverty

The approach to La Rinconada, a gold-mining town nestled under a glacier in the Peruvian Andes.

Dreaming of El Dorado

Senna has pounded rock; she has ground it to gravel with her feet, she has teetered under heavy bags of crushed stone. But she was never lucky as a child miner; she never found even the faintest glimmer of gold. Today, with her father dead and her mother bordering on desperation, she makes fancy gelatins and sells them to men as they come and go from the mine shafts that pock the unforgiving face of Mount Ananea. When she is asked why she slogs through mud and snow for a few hours of school every day, as few children do, she says she wants to be a poet. She is fourteen years old.

Women of Troy

In Women of Troy, poet Susan Somers-Willett and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally look at the lives of young, working-class women in Troy, New York.

Eduardo Romero Martín grips a desiccated stalk in his cornfield in Pocoboch, Mexico.

Inheritance of Dust

After his two years of schooling, Eduardo took up the destiny ordained to the people of Pocoboch: growing yucca, squash, tomatoes, chiles, beans, and corn on small plots carved into the jungle. There may not have been much money, but for most of Eduardo’s lifetime, the corn made the town run. And then, simply, it did not.

(All photographs by Paul Reyes)

Opportunity Knocks

This is Max Rameau seizing the moment: hunting down foreclosed houses left idle by the banks, or by the city, so that he can take them over. Rameau contends that everyone, no matter what, deserves a home, and he considers the surplus of empty, deteriorating foreclosures a gross waste of a precious resource. “For me, personally,” Rameau says, “it’s about provoking a contentious debate.” And if breaking into a bank’s neglected inventory is the way to get that conversation started, then so be it.

Congregation

Somewhere in the post-Katrina wreckage and disarray of my grandmother’s house, there is a photograph of my brother Joe and me, our arms around each other’s shoulders. We are at a long-gone nightclub in Gulfport, the Terrace Lounge, standing before the photographer’s airbrushed scrim—a border of dice and playing cards around us. Just above our heads the words HIGH ROLLERS, in cursive, embellished—if I am remembering this right—with tiny starbursts. 

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