Once there were countries and they loved a little girl. But one day the girl couldn’t come. Nor crawl anymore in Kalahari sands or learn to walk in a preschool where she was chipoko. She would instead talk in her language through a fence to a face no longer there. And trace the route down Route de Pregny to a United Nations office building. She’d play hide and seek with the Tanzanian boy like her in the skeleton of a house. He picked her flowers in a lightning storm and they’d sing Radio Ga Ga, jumping up and down on a sofa. Before he went to Iran leaving only the Louez sign outside. When she was tired, she’d dream of the countries the airplane took away. Where she’d play soccer not football. Where she wasn’t spat at, followed and groped. Where the Swiss motel where she took her last exam was not the last migration after all. And the girl loved the countries very much. And the countries were happy. But time went by and the girl grew older. And the countries were often alone. Then one day the woman came to them.

“Why now?” she asked “Why do you come to me now?”

“I’m sorry,” said the countries “But we don’t know,”

“I don’t need very much now,” said the woman “Just a quiet place to sit and rest.”

“Come, sit down. Sit down and rest. We know you,”

And the woman did. And the countries were happy.

Inspired by The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)

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