Who hasn’t asked to be granted reprieve, mouthed a plea not to be fossiled in despair? More time and space, please: and clear vistas, less elegy. Let our feet dance again, let us walk without limping, let us see and be seen; let the men come back from the edge of the tracks where they wished to throw their bodies at that machine rumbling closer out of the dark. Let the women repeat the owl’s whistle without lining it with warnings. Let the guards dismantle fences and those miles and miles of concertina wire. I ask the fields not to be so quiet, to make their poppy flares wilder and redder until even wandering ghosts are tempted to stop and eat or make bouquets. I want them to get up hours later washed in the perfume of wildflowers, no longer burdened with what it was that turned them away, turned them loose or out of doors, unhomed. I want the soldiers to walk through the desert bringing water, blankets, food; for the coyote to be nothing more than a small prairie wolf with broad ears, scraping at cypress bark with delicate paws.

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