can you pass me the airbrush, love?
the one I use to slip past them all.
So I can focus on the road ahead
the brush sweeps left and right.
If I were to look - if I were to dare:
I would see the girl, 8 maybe 9
mutilated in the name of modesty, and I would be forced
to remember ECT and lobotomies for such a reason as this.
I would see the teen boy or girl, 11 maybe 12
sores around their nose and lips, a bag slung by their side
huffing as they sit, waiting, for someone to care.
I would see the boy 13 maybe 14, slight for his age
hanging out in the park hoping for a lift, his septum
slowly evaporating with each line of white outlining his fall from grace.
I would see the girl or boy of any age
trying, trying to get to school, trying to read and write
and rise above the brush, swish, swish, and I would see the bruises too,
the punch bag for home, I would see the family crossing that line.
It doesn't matter which country I am in if the brush does not do its job, swish swish
I would see the charlatans the muggers the broken-down boats
obsolete life jackets, mud, squalor, cries, users, abusers, pimps, traffickers
beatings, FGM on the side of the road,
I would see human misery in every disconnect and it is too much.
So I don't look left or right, I continue on my way, swish swish
my safe way to work, to school, to church, where I shall put a little extra on the plate
for the poor everywhere, my conscience salved,
you see there's no need to look someone else will care and I will not look but
send them on their way with my little extra on the plate