Thursday, 23 August 2007

Uganda and Her Mouthful of Dust

I am wrapping Christmas presents
in pretty pink and gold paper,

like the plastic surgeon

I fold old skins from last year’s leftovers,
smooth my hands over creases,

trim off the excess fat

to stitch with vines
of cellotape taut to my shelf.

Over my shoulder

a girl’s lips and ears are missing,
hacked off by a boy of 12.

She looks unfinished,

not deformed or inhuman,
unreadable but for her eyes

big and brown,

her lashes erect
write words her mouth now cannot say.

If I could I’d sprout her lips with texture,

a kiwi’s skin, a feather,
coax them back with a peach’s fur,

or a kiss maybe

to dress them up in a pout of wild colour.
But I wrap boxes here, useless,

separated by pixels, a million miles of skin,

her eyes frozen in Uganda’s civil war,
she queues for a plastic surgeon

with a mouthful of dust.

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