Keep your eyes cast down, for there are foxes in our midst.
Dream of the future, never dwell on the past.
Line up, line up. Eyes low, face blank.
You bought me the book on non-conformity.
How can you force me to be like everyone else?
Across a mountain, an ocean, a country, lies my home.
Settle for porridge and cabbage and the sound of waves I cannot see.
Tropical weather with freezing nights.
A young girl wakes in the night shivering beneath thin sheets.
Through the trees, a muted drone, a voice is screaming in pain.
Like the waves, a face I cannot see. But I know.
Line up, line up. Raise your hand. Don’t protest.
There is a room down those steps you don’t want to see.
Remember the heat.
Your hand cramped, too many sweaty bodies in one dark space.
Pencil writing feverishly, knowing you’ll never finish in time.
Cold food from a plastic box.
A worm grazes your sunburned toe, slithering from the shower drain.
A roach scatters across the wall.
So many girls, writhing, crying, cramping, screaming.
Singing together in a small classroom, remembering songs from long ago.
No music, just voices, some good, some bad. All welcome.
A hand grasps yours, a friend who’s voice you’ve rarely heard.
Another raises their own, calling forth swift justice.
Etch off the day in your weathered pink journal.
Read your list of food you’ll have, one day, when you are home.
Your stomach aches, your body is weak.
There is mold growing in your hair. Too many cold showers.
You rest your head upon your pillow, listen to the sounds of breathing that surround you.
Voices drift from the veranda, laughing and happy.
You fall asleep, feverish dreams of happiness and music overwhelm you.
Though lost, you will return again.