page contents

Kayetesi by Heidi Wallis

When you arrive, kayetesi smiles and holds
your hand and doesn’t complain about having

to take the plates off the table or put away
the food that’s been waiting—getting cold

as you worked your way across the border,
past an equatorial sunset. she says something

to you in french and throws a thin arm
around your waist as if you’re not a stranger

from far away, as if she owes you kindness,
as if you hadn’t been skipping stones

and college philosophy classes
while she was a refugee of war (as if

she hadn’t been a refugee of war).
as if it isn’t true that pain is each our own

and we all must stand alone.


© 2014 Heidi Wallis

Image “Equatorial Aurora Borealis” © Flickr user Trey Ratcliff

H. Wallis received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Chico, where she studied with Jeanne Clark, Ellen Walker, and Joanne Harris Allred. She currently works as a copywriter and finds time for poetry on the ferry between work and her home in Sausalito. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Critical Pass Review, Existere, The MacGuffin, Pennsylvania English, and Watershed Review.