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fists as privilege, fight or flight the instinct 
you hardly heard the clicking, insisting
you don’t have to 

do this but 
click! your arm twisted—you give up 
a purse, twenty-eight dollars

your shoes, suicidal, stab spindled
you pee in a cup 
a little on your pants

slough to the cell in thin 
sponge slippers, toes with smiley faces 

someone is banging on glass, someone is waving 

things will happen 
you have no control over

                                            —Kathleen Hellen

Kathleen Hellen is the author of The Only Country was the Color of My Skin (2018), the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net, and featured on Poetry Daily, her poems have won the Washington Writers' Publishing House prize, the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review. She has been awarded grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. For more on Kathleen visit https://www.kathleenhellen.com/.