• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 03


Look closely at the map of my
country, and a lady’s shape will
emerge. She puts down the pail
of our poverty and looks back
to where we were once a people
of pride and unity, affirming life
as universal reason. Now her absent
gaze is fixed on the mirror, as if she
refuses to see her sunken eyes,
the way weariness is her last
strength to take another step.

Rest takes no part in her decades,
swell she keeps staining her lungs
black as smoke. Her waist-length
hair has forgotten the touch,
knows only water’s absence.
But we endure as children to whom
she remains dearest, dear love,
leader after leader fathering us
from her refusal to sleep
with thief and murderer.