Loretta Oleck Rima

Red hands. Restless hands. Blood painted along the ridges

of my ribs, down the ladder of my spine-

rigid in the teasing, tight light, under the cover of night.

There are no answers living inside the hush and hum of shadows.

I've stopped asking why. Stopped wondering if I should crawl

out of tent # 104, or if I should stay inside and doze all day.

Nowhere to go. Seven months of nothingness.

My blood tastes sweetest washing through the heart

of another, but now it has a bitter bite as I toss and turn,

alone, for another day, lying on hard ground,

tangled in a single sheet.

It’s as if I am the only one alive at this camp, at dawn,

holding back the urge to come, to run, to scream, to pray-

surging urges smudged like war paint across my cheeks and lips-

erasing my features from my face.

I am living a life, now, where only camouflage can save me.

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