Belly of the Beast (or Answering Rupi Kaur’s Question)


By Caitlin Pencarrick Hertzman

Doors slammed shut would be better than tear gas. At least you could howl your desperation at them, and know the echoes would hound them along their concrete tunnel. Echoes that would ring out at home in the voices of their own children. Perhaps when their own children cry they’ll forget it was for paw patrol, seeing instead the diapered boy with streaming eyes. The tiny, half-naked girl a mother threw over her shoulder before running as far and fast from the poison as she could. If I can’t even reach the door, where can I give my true name?

Caitlin wrote this drabble in response to a poem in Rupi Kaur’s collection, “The Sun and Her Flowers”, a day after being inundated with media reports that the USA lobbed tear gas across the border into Mexico. Caitlin lives on a gulf island off the coast of BC and writes primarily about issues of social justice.

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