It was one Monday in the life of a Corp Doctor covering two hospitals. Having finished with the last patient at my clinic at the first hospital, I got to my locum to find a patient waiting, a little girl of about six years who looked pale and breathless. Her PCV came out to be 6%. There was no blood in the blood bank. Her mother, a single mother, was a 21 year old doing menial chores somewhere in Benue State. The man who had brought her to the hospital was just a friendly neighbor. I knew I needed to get her blood to save her life, so I volunteered some of mine and wrote a poem about it.
DIE A LITTLE
Little child, have we met?
Perhaps you reeled out of some UNICEF poster.
Bad air blotches mosquito-kissed skins.
Anaemia is an antithesis of capitalist ads.
Poverty porn exerts no age restrictions.
The ticking clock tocks:
every tick talks of you
Queen of the malnutrition pageant,
your sludge red cells don’t hold back sickly smiles.
Fleeting dreams French-kiss the air
your sparse cells are like a tiara of thorns.
If we all die a little,
perhaps you will die a little less.
Needle kisses skin with practiced ease,
rips into blood conduits.
And a part of me leaks into this bag.
I die a little to quell this child’s thirst.
Mosquitoes are to Africa what vampires are to Hollywood.
Africa’s towering giants wont conquer little David;
no, Jehovah is my witness.
Tomorrow when your sheen is restored,
I shall smile for the first time.
*Die A Little first appeared in Daybreak & other poems (Saraba IPCS, 2013)
Welldone brother. Waking up to the aching joints, or the underestimated impact of these on us and them…Thanks for letting people know. Ologbon lo ma ye and awon omoran loma mo idi e.
Thanks boss for understanding & empathising