July 11, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

flickr photo



Nina Heiser




Zero Tolerance



A small girl, a toddler you’d say if she were yours,

takes a stance, her small brown face shining

with tears falling so long as to be

forgotten looks up

for answers.


A woman, a young lawyer comes to help,

her face strained white with effort

reads the list of questions

translated for this

border war.


¿De dónde vienes?

No lo sé.

Dibújame una foto

de las pandillas

las malas personas.

Quiero hacer dibujos de flores.

¿De qué país eres?

No sé lo que es un país.

¿Dónde está mi mamá?

¿Dónde está mi papá?

¿Dónde estoy yo?



And the child, crying now,

so hard she hiccoughs

her face suffused in

snot and tears



collateral in political games

where winning was long

past being an option.

The young volunteer

shaking her head

closing her file

signals this

one is







Nina Heiser

Nina Heiser is a writer living in central Florida. She wrote poetry in her 20s then turned to theater and journalism, working as a local reporter for newspapers in western Massachusetts and southern Maine. She turned back to poetry when she retired and is beginning to send out her work.

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