access card

i am not let in
just yet.
the asian receptionist
chews up
the seed of my french and spits
it into the air.
there is something in me shriveling.
this is not even her language, i think.
it is not mine either.
its skin more wrinkled, more light.
i look at the way the eyeliner,
thick soot black
has missed the rim of her eyes.
“i have a lot of work” she says
in an english that’s a piece of glass on the floor
and this thing in me wants
to clamp down its boot and
crush it.
the sick power of being human
and different
and outside.
i want to say something
like “discombobulate”
just to make her feel
like she is the one without
a bloody access card.


Painting by Guaya Samin

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