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Every day she was grateful they left, fled the constant hair-on-end fear that took months to shake free from one’s bones. She gave thanks to Allah, to her neighbors, to the stranger who drove the van, to agencies that distributed food, to her husband for staying alive, and to her children who still laughed. But the snow was bitter and biting, mocking her temporary freedom from death’s wail. Tents and plastic tarps were not meant to hold so many for so long. Core chilled, she was still grateful, but she whispered prayers to the world for one more saving grace.

 

 

 

Heather Bourbeau wrote the poetry collection Daily Palm Castings, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and won the Pisk! Poetry Slam. Her journalism has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs. She appreciates brevity. heatherbourbeau.com.

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