Smoke and Mirrors / by Megan Hollingsworth

A photograph reveals open eyes, barely, 

above cheeks drawn.

Dignity denied between legs

spread wide

all the way to a breast sagging

yet with milk left for the child

nestled under arm. Equally missing.

Among the first to go from Mary’s cabinet

would be palm oil,

traded from the market’s local beginnings

to global ends in this orangutan’s suffering.

Mary’s empathy with abandon displayed

by her own hip bones, protruding

and her name signed

to every petition tweeted as she browses home improvement sites.


is a third kitchen remodel.


is something that gives her something


to debate than what’s going on with those

who don’t build walls to store themselves and their trappings.

Mary is replacing old cabinets twice painted over

and practicing the smile

she will wear

when visitors

compliment the facelift.


Note: SMOKE AND MIRRORS is inspired by the image of Mama Anti and Babe Anti in ‘Orangutans face complete extinction within 10 years…’, Independent August 19, 2016. Orangutan’s home forest community continues to be destroyed for palm oil production. Palm oil is considered among the earliest traded commodities.

See Home Improvement: Women Aspire to Better Décor; Men to Better Size and Layout

Also see Refuge In Community at for thoughts on original refugees and what drives the total refugee crisis.