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Saturday, September 14, 2019


by Wendy Hoffman

Justice is a pebble under the rug you trip over,
a slipped stitch on embroidery,
mail that fails to be delivered.

I want to give my kids life
so the gangs won’t rape
or kill them,
so we can buy food, not steal.

Does that make me a criminal?
It makes me unwanted.
I didn’t think we’d make it to the border
but we did, thirsty, filthy.

I thought the children would faint,
I carried the youngest.
Asylum: that was for the old days.

The stiff legged officers pace like dictators.
Some enjoy, some hate, their job.
All my children severed from my spine,

its sound like a building demolished.
Our pleading cries carry no weight,
our filled lungs don’t matter.

Will I hug empty air for the rest of my life?
I don’t know where they took my children,
I may never feel or smell them again.
The space between us is deeper than a grave.

How can people in uniforms rip out my soul?
This theft will be engraved in my children’s minds forever.
First starvation, then murder of our bond.
They send me home alone.

What will they do with my children,
who cares about them?
Asylum: a dream from the past,
democracy doesn’t exist.

The gangs are restless,
they know I am here,
they prowl.

Wendy Hoffman is a retired social worker. Karnac Books, London, published her memoirs in 2014 and 2015, and a co-authored book of essays, in 2017. Her books are now with Aeon Publishers in England and Routlege in New York. Her first book of poetry was published in 2016. A new memoir is forthcoming. She has a MFA in creative writing and lives on the Olympic Peninsula with her dog.