Angela Costi, We took a Boat and then a Plane

You stand in front of glass
it opens without knocking
they have women unarmed
sitting at counter, smiling
“Hello, how may I help you?”
They pay people to help you.

There are words you must hold like blankets in snow:
‘human rights’
you repeat them as third language
they feel hot on your tongue
they make you remember a child with broken teeth
remember a woman with torn womb
the man eating the dirt.
Here, you can say them
again and again
to many strangers
who will take your story
like a startled baby.
In fits and starts you come to know words
as soldiers standing at check points:

Your story climbs their walls and waits for you
outside their office
you cannot open the hearts of word
written in law.

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