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Portrait of a Girl at the Border Wall
by Sarah Lubala

All the women in my life are hungry

I have written this one hundred times
I do not know how else to tell it
how to write
the girl by the roadside
the bruised peach
the narrow collar
the night full of birds

Her body is a long river
that cuts through every room
see her in the kitchen
see her standing behind the gate
see how she cups her hands
for soap
for bread
for sweet milk

Tell me
where do I put her?
this girl pressed against the border
this girl swallowing her papers whole
this girl bird-wailing through a fence

See her hands
holding the broken saucer
stitching the skirt’s hem
cradling the last orange
begging the names of God

Where do I put her?
Tell me what is owed
the fist of hair
the cut of lip
the legs
split like fruit

Who will take her?
this sorrow-of-home-girl
this river-of-bees-girl
this blood-honey-girl
this night-singing-girl
this throat full of ghosts

Sarah Lubala is a Congolese-born South African development worker.  Her poetry has appeared in Brittle Paper, The Missing Slate and Prufrock.

Debie Thomas:

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