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P. A7 NYT 5.17.08

 

her body
ghostly
before death

one visible eye
distantly gazes out
from under a white
muslin shroud

Safia Ali
lays dying
in her home
a hut in Somalia

surrounded by
villagers who
peer in waiting

her 5 children
cannot be seen
we are told
one curls up
tight into
his mothers
body

Safia Ali
last ate
1 week ago

war
famine
drought
brought her
to this place

I cannot
turn the
page
afraid
I’ll forget the face
of
Safia Ali

I want to
be haunted
by her image
forever

I plead with
her one eye
with the reporter
with the photographer
please
keep
her
breathing

tonight
my children will
at some point
climb up
into bed

I will lay awake
surrounded by
their sweet breath
and warm bodies
thinking of the
children
of Safia Ali.