By: Lyat Melese

Aunty’s green card was approved
lucky she says
right before they tightened
and the world became a paper map
with a hand clamping the oceans
paper crumpling and
colorful blobs of land
choked apart

Aunty works at a chicken processing plant
no english, they say, plus free transportation
two hour rides
with other elderly ladies
who fill time with murmurs
of broken english and native tongue

they will enter the place
machine loud yet silent
to skin chicken and pull innards
returning to
free transportation
with swollen feet

Is anything free?

My mother fries chicken for dinner
says she hasn’t seen real chicken in America
real chicken needs
just salt to dance on tongues
This chicken, here,
she dumps the remaining soy sauce in the pan