Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Refugee Mother and Child, a poem by Chinua Achebe

Mother and Child (Stacy Wills, 2014)
alcohol ink on yupo + sacred altering

Refugee Mother and Child

No Madonna and Child could touch
that picture of a mother's tenderness
for a son she soon will have to forget.

The air was heavy with odors 
of diarrhea of unwashed children 
with washed-out ribs and  dried up 
bottoms struggling in labored 
steps behind blown empty bellies.

Most mothers there had long ceased
to care but not this one; she held
a ghost smile between her teeth
and in her eyes the ghost of a mother's
pride as she combed the rust-colored
hair left on his skull and then -
singing in her eyes - began carefully
to part it... In another life 
this would have been a little daily 
act of no consequence before his
 breakfast and school; now she 
did it like putting flowers
on a tiny grave.

-Chinua Achebe (1930 - 2013)

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