Susan Cohen

Report on the State of the World’s Children

They took me to sea in a faulty raft. 
I couldn’t swim but, dead, I could float. 

I came from the wrong tribe. 
They took me at night over mountains 

and let go of my hand. I was born 
at the wrong time. They took me to a place 

of tents and snow. The heat was fire 
and they rationed the flames.

Winter entered to sleep with us,
also men harsher than winter.

I was brave. Only my dreams cried out.
I came from the wrong village.

They took me to a camp with tall fences 
cholera could vault. 

I crossed from a wrong country.
Alone, I wandered a desert.

I slept under a cactus for weeks, 
until crows found me. 

They took me to jail. I watched a green fly 
who was allowed to come and go. 

They pronounced my wrong name.
I prayed the wrong way.

They took my house and gave me rubble,
then told me to go home.

I sat day after day and made walls
from all that I had—my two arms 

became mother and father, holding
each other and hugging my knees.