local_library Waiting in Line at the Immigration Office

by Samantha Samakande

Published in Issue No. 282 ~ November, 2020

The guard squints

too long at your passport,


not blue.

You cannot help it;

your accent slips

out with your name,

that nervous tick,

that lingering sin,

knotting the words

to the underside

of your tongue.

You count and recount

your papers on a spine

that has done nothing

but flourish under

the stern fluorescents.

A dark, shapeless

throb sits cross-legged

on your chest,

because you know

they are tweezing out

people like you,

harvesting you

like insurgent hairs,

mid-sway in the wrong

direction, muddying

the bend

of the brow.

What is the right way to belong?

You do not know

but here you are

lined up,

gambling for it,

praying to God

you are the right

kind of other.

You have been waiting

to be over

with the plucking,

the numbering,

the rituals of reaping.

Saliva backs up

in your throat,

squeezes it a little.

You are eager

to be made

worthy of only



account_box More About

Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean writer currently based out of Bloomfield, NJ. She is a graduate of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and is a junior editor for F(r)iction. It is her lived experience as an immigrant that made her a poet, an observer, and a daughter of many tongues and in-betweens.