Fingerprints 

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— 
                                                    correctly
                                                    read.

 

Names

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.

                                                       Sugar sugar
                                                       sugar tea.
                                                      
Sugar sugar
                                                      salt. Sugar
                                                      sugar sugar
                                                      
tea. Sugar
                                                      sugar salt.
                                                      
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