the cost of a playground

ku[to]starehe

the children showed up
and the government felt so threatened
that it showed up, too, with helmets

and rungus and tear gas.

and then your eight-year-old was in prison,
your ten-year-old was in hospital
and you still do not know where your seven-year-old neighbour is.

how dare you allow your child to defend her humanity,
the president challenges you,
as if she came home last week with a permission slip you had to sign.
as if she doesn’t know for herself the difference between good and this fresh hell.

but the children keep coming,
their parents are holding their hands now
and the president, behind his beautiful doors
behind his beautiful walls behind his
beautiful security

[remember, security starts with you]

he smiles,
because he owns all the milk that the people will use to wash the teargas out of their eyes.

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