#writephoto — The Asylum Tree

img_1779“Look at that tree, Ma,” Alex said, pointing to a tree with limbs and branches covered torn pieces of cloth. “What does it mean?” he asked her.

“That, sweetie,” Cindy said, “is known as the ‘Asylum Tree.’ It’s meant to remind us of the struggles of people trying to come to the United States from other countries in order to escape violence and persecution.”

“Why does it have all of those rags tied to it?” Alex wanted to know.

“Well, under federal law, anyone from another country can seek asylum — and therefore entry into the U.S. — by claiming to have fled their countries out of fear of persecution over their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group,” she explained.

“But President Trump is ignoring that law and arresting people from Central America who are seeking asylum,” Cindy said. “ And worse, he’s taking young children away from their mothers and fathers and putting the children into cages.”

“That’s terrible, Ma,” Alex said. “How can our president be so cruel, so heartless?”

“Many of us are asking that same question, Alex,” she agreed. “He is turning our country into a place that many of us don’t recognize anymore. We are embarrassed and ashamed.”

“But the rags,” he said. “I still don’t understand why they are attached to the tree.”

“Each of those pieces of cloth hanging from the tree branches,” she said, “represents a child who has been torn away from their mother or father to remind us of the inhumanity of Donald Trump and those who support him.”

“I hope that the next time we come to see this Asylum Tree, there will be no more rags tied to it,” Alex said.

“I hope so to, sweetie,” Cindy said.

Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.

Sunday Photo Fiction — Clay Pigeons


Frank grabbed Sally and pulled her behind the embankment as the military tank rumbled over bridge. “Do you think they saw us?” Sally whispered to Frank.

Frank peeked over the embankment as the tank rolled out of sight. “No, I don’t think so,” he said, as reassuringly as he could. “It will be dark in an hour,” he continued. “We’ll wait here until then before heading to the other side.”

Four months earlier the generals had staged a coup, arrested the president and his family, and declared martial law when those loyal to the president took up arms in open rebellion.

The fighting had been fierce and thousands of lives had been lost, but Frank was determined to make it across the border with Sally, where they’d be given asylum. He figured it would take them a few more days on foot, since private vehicles were no longer allowed on the roads.

After the sun set, the two left their hiding place. They had barely taken two steps when they were caught in a bright spotlight. Shots rang out and both of them fell dead to the ground.

“Like clay pigeons,” one of the rebel soldiers said, laughing.

(198 words)

Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt. Photo credit: A Mixed Bag 2017.