Don’t let the authorities know where you entered the
continent. Fill an empty jam jar with cold water for the
pain. Have it at the ready. Apply the chosen method to the
skin until it’s gone. Sulfuric acid, a heated nail, a razor, a
hot plate turned to HI, an Emery cloth, super glue. Get
your fingers in the water. Don’t make eye contact. This
might make you feel human. Don’t speak of this. The skin
will grow back. Once every 15 days peel it off.
Ten fingers taught
by your mother
to tie shoes.
Two palms in—
I am in the ware house all day filling orders with donated
food. There’s a notebook with names and phone
numbers. Refugees call in their orders for their camp
kitchen. If they don’t call, a volunteer can get in touch to
see if they need anything. Each order has a name
attached to it. My heart breaks at the names. My hands
and body stay busy. The Afghans prefer lentils to
chickpeas. If there are real chili peppers, not the
powdered stuff, it goes in the Afghan orders as well. The
Sudanese camp calls in an order for 80. We pack bags to
send to Dunkirk, to the 1,000 Kurdish women and children
living in a foot of mud.
Come! Be here,
salt of earth,
light of world!
L'ABRI TIPTON lives in Lille, France. She has published three small press collections. Her work has appeared in Descant, LunaLuna Magazine, and collaborations with The Enemies Project (London). Several of her poems on the Calais Jungle refugee camp are forthcoming in the Spring 2017 issue of Conséquences. She blogs at sandhill crane-a post-literate playground. Find her @rawbri.