by Christian Bell

They grab me off the street, squeeze me into a car, because I look like some other guy who, like many others, is no longer welcome.  Three blocks away, they realize I'm not him, stop the car, push me out.  You'll not say a word, they say, as I'm burning on my knees.  They speed away, tear a snake through the streets.  I look up and there's a woman in black, the face of mothers, offering her hand.

The superhero is out there in the fields, discovering herself.  The world, where you and I breathe, is bleeding.  Unlike the tales of old, she won't make it in time.

Each evening, she returns to her home at the end of the street.  She keeps the shade down on the bathroom window, so she can't see beyond the street, the land of him, where it's no longer safe.  Another day of consoling the grieving, refugees who are welcome on the street, mourners of what's been lost.  She tells herself, the street is not utopia but a choice.  She reads words written in a book from before: Keep singing even after they rip out your tongue.

Me, living, spinning, breathing, like I never did.  The waters are coming.  This time, I will stand firm.

Soft footsteps in canyons of concrete, silence.  The gentle wet wind whispers: it wants more.  She's behind you now and you're hurrying because you know the shadows, that's where it's safe now.  This city, like the others, is empty.  Sister, you say, we're on our own now.  You look around and she's gone.