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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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CONSTANCE

 


 

Simple   in the sense

she sang in Kiswahili

and thought all was well

and invisible   in the sense

she spent her days on her knees

washing floors from an upside-down

trashcan lid filled with filthy water

she glanced   askance   at burka clad

whores walking through HIV

clinic doors   nevertheless

she had fire-souled grace.

But bound since birth

to seven days of work

to earn seventy shillings

to feed her seventeen children

to keep her home

in the slums of Mombasa

she scrubbed floors

with strong hands

her body sour

with sweat.

 

Near noon

she’d whisper

Yesu Kristo

as an imam

wailed Mawlānā.

 

Her world I didn’t understand.

She was a fresh breeze in a sweltering room.

She was a mother scorned by others.

She was a song that nobody knew.

She was a saint among sinners.

She was a friend seldom found.

 

I’ve missed her since the day I left.

 

 

                 -Mona T. Lydon-Rochelle