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POEM:- “When Hunger Becomes Prayer” By Precious Arinze

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Who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet” – Somali proverb

the year we cracked out of our skins

blood came oozing out of holes

the body had not formed yet

as if a trauma patient in shock

waiting for the pain to register

needing a ready answer

for when the doctors ask

can you feel what I’m doing to you?

so they can call in emergency aid

diagnose the drought in your belly

declare a famine

and that is how you name a country

that is how you pretend to save it?

this is how we say

if the fighting does not kill us

the escaping will

and if not the escaping

the hunger

and where the hunger colonizes our bodies

wrestles it to the ground

there we will plant new seeds

there we will be rain

panting with our own questions for the soil

o heaven, let our suffering be biblical

let the firstborns die if they must

let the darkness run into its ghosts

o earth, hunger and basmati

taste nothing alike

o earth, there are no lullabies

in a mother’s breasts robbed empty of milk

o earth, declare forgiveness in our mouths

in the bellies of the children

and if there be no water

we will swallow the sea

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