by Athena M. Henderson

I sit on a mattress
crusted with dirt—
a political prisoner in a cell
two by three meters.

The door opens
and a plate of spaghetti
with tomato sauce
and vanilla pudding
scrapes onto the floor.

Even after a week without food,
it does not taste good,
and I spit it up.

Ants gather quickly
over the feast,
taking it bit by bit
into a hole in the wall
where my fingernail clippings
were too big to fit.

Then an ugly man with a broom
bursts in and sweeps all my friends
out the door.
But they find their way back.

We are not defeated.