i see my sisters

they no longer just take
our sons

they have been coming
after our daughters

quietly, in broad daylight

young women are
lining up for
uniforms and guns

hoping for escape,
or discipline, or money

i see my sisters falling

and i want to shout
at them to stop
in their tracks

to stop them before
it’s too late
to turn back

and it is strange
and terrible
that the exchange
of foreign lives
for domestic livelihood
is acceptable.

i see my sisters
with hunger in their eyes
and desperation

i see them praying
for some kind of
salvation

and i want to say
that falling into
those ranks
is not the way
that they can stand
here, with us, where
there is hurt
and struggle
and pain, but that
we can stand here
together, and
we will grow
something else
it won’t come
quickly
or easily
but that it is better
than traveling a
path to security
that tramples
over other people’s lives.

i am afraid
of who they will become,
of what they leave behind,
of whether they will return at all.

my sisters,
don’t go
please.

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