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Against Apathy

ISSUE:  Winter 2012

Photo by Marcus Bleasdale

In the placid lean of an arid summer, in the lingering
snarl of pit latrines, the sharp barbs of the acacia,
in the opaque eyes of the girl whose fingers frenzy
over her arm’s badge of cholera-stricken skin,
unearth a feeling for a people who are not your own,
in the sinister look of the man beneath a koofiyad
(he is not al Shabaab), in the boy selling refurbished phones
in the market, wary of your presence, your queries, the aloof
gaze of the women behind hijabs who flee
your camera’s barrel, who swiftly turn and cover,
in this land devoid of green like a dried sea
that stretches to their war-torn country scarred over
like a child soldier’s back. The camps swell in singeing heat,
hot like the air of politicians who have no stake
in other clans; embrace the father who chews khat,
the girl who sells her limbs for all her body can take.
Think of the rootless, the dispersed, when you slide
into the porcelain glove of your tub like an emperor.


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