After pain has taken you
After pain has taken you, conquered you, kidnapped you,
drug you over the border, forced you to beg
to be converted to that region’s religion
you can never fully escape. After you’ve been there,
even only once, your body will betray you
so stunningly easily: one twitch, one cramp, a single
bright shadow when you blink an eye
and the border police have you, your own language
now alien to you, your body bending in a devotion
revolting to you but so familiar, so known.
If you escape, return home
people around you may say only, you look
so tired, but your dog will sniff you,
hackles raised, sensing you are not the same,
will never be the same again.