Michael Shepherd – 0007 African Child

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What’s that dirty mark on the carpet in front of the TV, Mom?
That’s just a shadow from tne screen, dear.

I feel sick, Mom, I must’ve eaten something nasty?
I expect it’s that film, dear..shall we turn it off?

Is that a boy or girl baby crying, Mom?
Didn’t notice dear, why, does it matter?
What’s that group of men just off-screen, Dad?
They’re just interested in the film.
Then why aren’t they with the Moms, helping?
They may not be the fathers, dear.
(She’s too young yet, to know about child-rape, honey,
though I guess we’ll have to tell her sometime…)

Then where are their real Dads?
I expect they’re dead, dear.
Dad you won’t die will you, promise?
I hope not, darling, I’ll try not to…

Why are they so hungry, Dad, when the TV can go there?
Their country’s in a mess, dear.
But they always used to have enough to eat,
otherwise they wouldn’t have dads and moms themselves?
It’s a long and sad story, darling, I’m not sure
that I can explain it to you. I wish I knew the answer.

Will those flies on the babies’ eyes come off the screen, come here?
No darling, it’s Africa.
Don’t they hurt? Why don’t their Dads brush them off
instead of just standing there?
I expect they’re used to them in Africa, dear..
shall we turn the TV off?
No I want to watch, I want to help them.
That’s very good of you, darling, maybe
when you’re grown up? It may be better then.

What will make it better, Dad?

Michael Shepherd


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