Lament of 733 L St.

i confess to seeing things most
encounter only in nightmares,
or read about in reports from
another corner of the globe.

where once i felt breathless,
watching the proud and lowly chase
financial transactions, inquiring as
to their holdings,

i am now witness to transactions of another sort.

how did my belly come to
house this sinister debacle,
dehumanization–detention without
warning; removal without due process?

secrecy shrouds these human
holdings, the lack of transparency
affords no legal counsel, only
intimidation preying on those

whose eyes scream with terror, backs
bent from years of work which
those who seal their fate
have long refused to do.

i cannot bear it; i was not built for this.
is this not one human life after another
herded without recourse? is not one life–
regardless of origin, belief, status–

worth more than all else in our world?
i do not understand the human race
which turns on its very own and
hurls them to destruction.


Earlier this week Valley Public Radio (NPR) released a report on an under-the-radar ICE “holding room” located, innocuously, in the heart of downtown, mere blocks from where I call home; next to a burgeoning entrepreneurial complex; across the street from an upscale hotel. This report shook me to the core. While not in the least surprising, given the dark cultural climate, its silent proximity to all that has become familiar over the past year, bears witness to the pervasiveness of injustice and inhumanity. I must write!

follow me on Instagram: @julia_penner_zook
© Julia Penner-Zook, 2018


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