with other righteous people & infants who were not
drowned. put there by a wrathful country who thinks
itself a god. a tiny flame gnaws at the border
of mami’s dress. she puts it out with her palm.
here, they take her fingerprints & know the shape
of her hands. at the front desk a lady tells her i am
sorry ma’am, but your paperwork was misplaced in the mouth
of a whirlwind. we’ll have to restart your application.
& mami sits inside that somber room for another two
years. on the wall, a picture of the president looks
over everyone. mami’s stay is provisional but she is terrified
of how law can be read & carried out. how under
different eyes her step on the soil becomes
unlawful. she sits stiff in a foreign plastic
chair. unable to swim back across a rusted river pushing
two bodies away from one another. i am from here,
but mami is my first home. i don’t know how to hold
anything—can be taken.