i have my finger in my ear. i hope she doesn’t see it. she is steadfast. she
moves forward and backward. i have seen her for the past three months.
i’m starting to get used to k. i wasn’t sure about her when i saw her the first time. she was mute. she still doesn’t talk as much as i would like. i have to tell her to come to me and to leave me be. it hurt me to see her smoke. she texts generously when i don’t need her.
k pulled down her pants to show me where she had been shot in the knee
by a thug. she had had nothing to give him. there was no knee to be seen,
only an indentation.
they never got him, k said.
son of a bitch, i said.
k looked at her knee. she raised her head and looked at me. i looked at
her knee. i looked at her. she looked down at her knee.
i have nothing to tell you, k said.
you don’t remember, k said.
nothing, k said.
they aren’t going to be happy, i said.
they don’t care about anyone, k said.
they put us in a hallway, k said. they didn’t untie us. i peed in my pants.

they rape young women, girls, k said. they want us dead.
you have what we call a brain disorder, i said bluntly.
they don’t want us to think what we want to think, k said.
have you been taking your medication, i said.
yes, k said.
we don’t rape girls, i said.
she didn’t say anything for ten minutes. she had said volumes.
they hurt us more with reason than we hurt them with our panic, k said.
they reduce us to slaves.
you are living, i said.
i survive, k said. they gave me a tree. they planted it in my yard. i’m going to chop it down. it has no friend. i don’t know how it has survived. i don’t think it is a tree. it looks like an inmate.
the forests are gone, i said. you should be happy to have a tree. you should be happy working with me. you don’t want to know what happens to people like you. we release them. you see them everywhere talking to themselves. the ones you don’t see die.
they killed my husband, she said. i want my husband. i don’t want a tree.
i don’t believe you, i said. there is no record of you having a husband.
yeah just like they don’t rape girls, she said.

let’s see how well you take care of the tree, i said.

they have been looking for someone like me forever. they want me to free them. when i tell them i don’t free anyone they want to be saved even more. they look at my brow. they avoid my gaze. when they are rude. i say a clinical word. we are the future i say. just give up.