Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Arms



Shock of curly hair, braided, 
hangs into tears. 
All gall and fury, the baby
scrambles over her mother, leans in close
to the vacant face 
and picks at the closed eyes.

Curled into typhoid,
Mama lies on dirt and meager grass,
the woman barely breathes.
Feel her fever.

Yanking limp arms, Baby bawls
and searches her blouse for a breast.
The husband sits stoically by, staring. 

Baby never looks to him or lifts hands

 to her father. He has never seen
this universal gesture of upraised arms
that she, that they, 
might be suddenly gathered
into his blindness and comforted.






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Addendum:  The mother was taken to a hospital (in Ethiopia) and cared for. The blind father and Baby were brought along. Who took them into their arms after that, Lord knows.

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4 comments:

Brian Miller said...

to never know those arms to hold...nice capture of their existence...and pulling the heart strings...i am glad someone was there for them...

Craig and Bethany said...

Details like how the baby picks the mother's eyes and searches her blouse make the scene real. Even half around the world, I feel the burn of her fever and panic of the viewer.

...gathered into his blindness and comforted. -- What a paradox.

emily wierenga said...

i am weeping.

oh susan. i ache for heaven ... i ache for someone to see that little girl, and pick her up...

S. Etole said...

a tearing of the heart in these words ...