A Face like Mine

By Pamela Orogot

I lie in a hospital bed;
No name to my face,
Abandoned babe,
Small and skinny,
Disease infested
Death knocking-
You stop,
Stare
Move on.
But I doubt you’ll forget a face like mine.

I sit at a busy street;
Six year old beggar,
Runny nose,
Lice infested,
Swollen belly,
Hunger biting-
You stare
Walk by.
But I doubt you’ll forget a face like mine.

I stand at the roadside;
Twelve years I’ll make tonight,
Too big for my clothes,
Skinny body, freezing cold
Eyes popping ‘n all,
Scared of the male prowlers
You walk by-
Pity and jeer.
But I doubt you’ll forget a face like mine.

I squat in a seemingly abandoned toilet;
Eighteen years last week,
Metallic hunger down myself,
Little foetus bleeding out-
You see me,
Call the police,
Not the doctors!
Gang up
Beat me.
But I doubt you’ll forget a face like mine.

I sit outside my slum;
Twenty four years old last month,
A limp in my walk,
Broken bones and scars,
Our kids’ hiding-
He’s back home,
Their father!
You whisper,
Point fingers
But I doubt you’ll forget a face like mine.

I’m running away now;
Thirty two years old two months ago,
My children with me,
Nowhere to go
But I’m leaving
The streets my friend…
You despise me
Family wrecker
But I’m leaving-
And I doubt you’ll ever forget a face like mine.

I’m lying on my death bed;
Forty five years of age last November,
My face too old for my age,
My body too frail to fathom,
My grandchildren-
The few that approach me,
They love me!
It’s all that matters.
I’m dying content,
I made peace with my God.
And now- you may forget a face like mine.

___
This poem won second prize at the BN Poetry Award 2013.
Reproduced courtesy of the organisers of the BNP Award.

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