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The Smiles of the Innocents


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Through agony and pain from my mother I came into this world.
So soft and fragile with a high-pitched cry brought smiles to those around me
Mother was smiling, grandmother was smiling, and the health workers were smiling, but you were not nearer to smile when I arrive

You smiled at me when I came home, and I smiled back
You touched me.
However, this was not the usual touch a father gives to a daughter
I fell ill on my third month in this world
I was brought to the health centre
My tongue and mouth were dry
I cried without tears
My eyes were sunken
The health worker cannot touch me as it brought unpleasant feeling to my body
My blood vessels were hidden
After sometimes, tubes were attached to my body
Water was given to me and I began to smile
I was OK to go home

It was a beautiful day and you decided to take my mother, my siblings, and I to the garden
It was a long journey, but we arrived in the end
My siblings and I enjoyed playing on the ground
Everyone was smiling

You looked at me and smiled
You picked me up and held me in your arms
I felt safe and secured, we both laughed, and then you touched me
I fell ill again into my seventh month of living in this world and this time it was very bad

Mother took me to her village
She and her brother took me to the health centre
I was breathing rapidly; my little body was hot as on fire
My eyes were heavy to open as I went into a deep sleep
The health worker attached ropes to me and to the machines
My blood vessels were not found after many attempts of poking me with needles
They decided to put fluids on me through my bone and it was successful

Mother called my name and I smiled at her in my sleep
I still cannot open my eyes
I still cannot cry with any tears from my eyes
Slowly but surely my breathing got better
My temperature dropped to normal, but I still need water
I was administered medication and my blood was taken to be tested
The health worker told my uncle and mother that my blood was poisoned
My pink pearl was oozing offensive pus
My chance of survival was very slim
With a heavy heart, the health worker smiled at me and apologised

I will have to be taken to the big hospital to get proper medical treatment
I was then brought to the big hospital in an iron bird that produced loud noises
I was smiling in my deep sleep
The health workers tried their best, but I had to leave
I left my mother and uncle heartbroken as I joined my other siblings who have gone through the same way
We are now looking at you and smiling; for you cannot touch us again

The smiles of the innocents.


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Michael Dom

This is a sad story in poem.

An interesting way to reveal the tale in the first person as a dying infant.

Somewhat mysterious to me about what the fathers touch was to cause death. Sounds in the arena of sanguma.

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