in the predawn twilight some of us are not wanted every bird sings at once cardinals chickadees bobolinks orioles green jays and crows claim their turf yawn and stretch and try to come to life a mother offers one breast to her drowsy boy and at the other a yellow pump sighs in its thirsty work service and devotion to provide in her absence to sustain him until the daily reunion a hell of a way to make a living elsewhere another mother overfull feels the milk pour forth unbidden and wonders who feeds her baby now who sees the dark line of his sleepy lashes and tells him, you are beautiful who trims the delicate nails at the ends of graceful fingers who will hold him if she dies imprisoned for profit a rich man’s game no matter what they call it and would she have been right would it have been better to wait at home and be trafficked again there’s a better life and you dream about it don’t you who will love him if she’s manacled with plastic ties and shoved onto the next waiting plane dragged weeping down the steaming tarmac what do they call him in the place where he is you won’t have a name all they will call you will be deportee and will he ever know his family scattered like dry leaves the milk slows and stops leaves full bottles, wet shirts the birds taper off their territorial melodies fade into the sounds of distant cars traffic starts jumpin’ she tiptoes the bottle to the freezer tearful at the taste of another mother’s sorrow and the other thinks of her stolen shoelaces uniformed men laugh over weak coffee it’s enough to drive you crazy
A record-high 12,800 immigrant children are currently being detained by the U.S. government, report says [Fortune]
For the child I can’t unhear crying [Poets Reading the News]
Betty Scott lives near O’Hare Airport with a bird and three humans. She is currently the fiction editor at Another Chicago Magazine, and her work has appeared in publications including TL;DR, Slipstream, and Literary Orphans.
Photo by Doran entitled “Primary Care.”