by Tawanda Mulalu
Please stop. Enough froth over this land
and the traffic fills with impatient radio—
or radio’s the only pinprick of voice
nearer now than skin. A child asks to touch me
and I tell her not to. She pokes me.
I swab the itchy lengths of my nostrils and God
says again, do you like it when I touch you
like this? Everything familiar and awful always
and the test tube carries me to a lab. This morning,
the shower’s water is careful and warm. But the air—
I walked in late to school and the same child here
waiting just outside the door, sleepy and shivering.
I sanitized her hands. I teach her how to divide.
Last updated September 23, 2022