We stood in line for hours
Or what felt like hours – we stood,
Our feet swelling under the smoggy heat,
Our foreheads dripping, our t-shirts soggy,
Our gold necklaces
Hanging about our necks like rosaries.
How many were in line like us?
The bank lights still flickering OPEN,
The third teller half in tears, wondering
When it was her turn to queue.
We were hundreds, perhaps, thousands,
Waiting, hoping, dreading:
Dreaming of receiving just a few more euros.
Oh and you’d look behind you and you’d see
A rising tide of people, with more arriving
By the minute, heavy-laden with worry and
No cash to get them through the weekend.
And how few held hands as we did –
Why did we, palms sweaty, hearts heavy,
Trying to prop one another up,
To keep up some kind of appearance or hope.
What dark days we found ourselves in:
The summer sun beat down upon the cobblestone,
The mosquitoes buzzed persistently around us,
The hundreds queued, hoping
Against hope the banks would still be open
When it was their turn.
That days would not pass with them
Still waiting, that weeks would not pass,
That the world would not collapse
And they’d be left with no milk for their babies,
No cash for their dinner plans Friday.
The haze: such haze! These were the days
We found ourselves anxious,
Our hands clasped together, and the questions
Always lingering between us
As we shriveled in the heat:
What to do, where to go, who to be
Where to run, when to go, how to flee.