Romani Oral Tradition (repost of my sonnet for International Roma Day)

Roma flag
Who says we cannot read? We read fringed lines
As they meander across your worn palm
We read the leaf clumps and delicate vines
Clinging to the empty teacup, now calm.
We read your story of pain and glory
On sketched chips of wood or bright vellum cards
Lines, clumps and vines are your inventory
Reflected from both eyes, your facial guards.

Asking us for help, we once again read
The page of your voices, anger, and fear
Despised, uneducated, we still bleed
In sympathy for your disguised veneer.
No country, no school, no planting of seed
And yet we have always known how to read.

(c) 2014 Clarissa Simmens from Madame Sosostris Explains, A Poetry Patchwork