Louise Marie DelSanto – My African Sister

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My sister is an African nun
that sits below grass houses
and rocks babies
until the sun goes down.

She pounds grain
into a fine powder and
shoos the flies away
from the faces of children.
She never puts her head
down to rest.

My sister wraps the babies
tight within the confines
of cobalt swathing,
and occasionally she spits
out the poisons she
inhales.

The children surround
her as she sings in her
native tongue, her tales
of life would scare us
three times or more

The horrors of skulls
that are just beyond
her door, and the way
they made a rabbit
bleed would make you cry.

When my sister speaks
of death, she rocks the
babies slowly. She is
not frightened
when the sounds
of night are right
outside her door

While some others sleep
she is working, cleaning,
taking the children down
to the river, giving
bread to hungry mouths.

My sister’s hands
fold for a simple prayer,
African mantra of the night,
never stopping, only knowing
that her babies need her.

Louise Marie DelSanto

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