Elixir For Knowing When to Surrender by Katherine DiBella Seluja

When the sky is filled with war planes. When everyone around you says: Don’t look up if it bothers you that much. When your new home is barbed wire and chain link. You wander metal corridors searching for the way you came in. Refugees fill the hallways and you realize you are one of them. You chug eleven ounces of a twelve-ounce water bottle before noticing five others are waiting their turn. Your best friend from high school is there with another friend who is injured. He’s on crutches and it takes both of you to support him so you have only one hand free to grasp at a pile of soft fruit. Because no one else seems to be planning ahead. And that’s when you remember the empty water bottles. You’ll need them. And grab that white tee shirt draped on a stick. You may need that too.

Katherine DiBella Seluja  is the author of Gather the Night, and co-author of We Are Meant to Carry Water. Recent work can be found in FENCE, and upcoming in Cutthroat and Thimble. Her third book of poetry, Point of Entry, will be published by UNM Press in 2023.