Sustenance

travelers who brave
currents, coyotes, ICE
thirsty, starving, seeking
the fat land to the north

soldiers in a war not their own
splayed on the battlefield, mouths agape
crying for water, water, water
and the soft sighing dream of home

at the bus station in Brownsville
volunteers await the broken troops
with sacks of apples, doritos, twinkies, a drink
the travelers never arrive

end of shift the volunteers
give the leftovers to homeless men
who open the bag like christmas
today it’s a juice box, a little debbie swiss roll

the homeless go to a shelter for the night
the volunteers return to their hotel
the travelers lay where they were stopped
and there remain, remain, remain, remain

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About the Author

Ruth Nasrullah is a freelance journalist who has written for the Houston Chronicle, Azizah, Islamic Horizons, Juicy, The Lily, Toastmaster, The Trek, MuslimMatters, and Religion News Service. She has a masters degree in journalism from Emerson College and a MFA in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. Currently, she is working on a book on religion in America while focusing on activism and volunteering. She is a New Jersey native who has lived in Houston since 2003 and is an alumna of Dairy Hollow, having stayed there in 2017 and 2019.

Ruth Nasrullah
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