Chris Jibero – The Unknown African Baby

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There it lies, the unknown African baby
On warm and fertile African soil
Its birth place, as supple
And tender as a larva ejected
From a grain of maize

There it lies with shut tight
Eyes as though it knows that
Earth is polluted unlike
The safe and sacrosanct environment
Of its mother’s uterus

There it lies in its cradle
A mat in a shanty
With hands folded into little
Fists as though it detests
To shake hands with the myriad
Of problems in its unsolicited milieu
And life

There it lies on its mother’s
Lap fed with her milk
But it is yet to find out that there
Are many others that shall
Be raised by only its mother
That ekes out a living from either
Petty trading or subsistence farming
Or both, unable to provide
Adequately for it and its siblings

There it lies, the unknown African baby
Unaware that its fathers, now happy
For its birth
May soon trigger an
Internecine war that would quicken
Its maturity, making it either a ruthless
Baby soldier or man-soliciting baby
Bawd

There it lies resting its head
On its father’s proud shoulder
That displays a questionable manliness
But yet to find out he may be a straggler
Given to bottles and skirts
Which he litters all his unwholesome ways
Living worse than an infidel

There it lies sleeping soundly
Unaware that problems
Will assail it with stress and insomnia
When weaned

There it lies, the unknown African baby
Spic-and-span in a hand down
Under a leaking roof
How would it know that it might
Wander barefoot and in tatters
Being a miserable street urchin.

(C) Chris Jibero. 1990.

Chris Jibero

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