September 4, 2015

The Difference Between Us and Them. {Or How to Tell a Middle-class Citizen from a Refugee.}

"Home sweet home," essie, Flickr

At night before we go to bed,

we go around our houses and lock all the doors

(don’t want any strangers coming in),

turn off all the lights in the living room

(don’t want to waste electricity),

turn on the dishwasher

(don’t have the energy to waste on hand-washing),

brush our teeth with electric toothbrushes,

put the cell phone by the side of the bed

(don’t want to miss a call or text),

and turn on the overhead fan

(don’t want to get too hot).


We check the clock on the dresser whose red lights quietly remind us

of the time,

just in case one of us needs to know the time

in the middle of the night

if we get up to pee

in the beautiful shiny new toilet

that saves water when we flush it

(because everybody knows people waste water).


We pull up the sheets—

the special, not-too-hot-for-summer cotton sheets

and lay down

on hemp seed pillows

behind our locked doors

and our turned-off lights


and slip into a

silent night

of sleep,


In the morning

when we wake up,

we check our Facebook

first thing

to see

what is happening with this

refugee crisis over there,

with those people—

those people who don’t have doors

or lamps

or dishwashers

or electric toothbrushes

or overhead fans

or alarm clocks

or shiny new water-saving toilets


or water to waste.


How dreadful.

Such a pity.

Sometimes, we make a cup of coffee

to drink

while we are watching

all that

before we click



and scroll down.





“I’m sure this poor little boy brought only joy. Look at how the world repaid him.” {Warning: distressing image}



Author: Carmelene Siani

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

Image: essie/ Flickr

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