Poetry

July 26, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

By

Debbie Hall

 

 

A Child Named War

I was born in war, I was raised in war without parents and gave birth in war.*

 

 

Is born into brittle air

billowed with dust.

 

She is raised

on parched earth,

her heartbeats

            a drum song

her breath

            a small wind

her mouth

            a thirst

her clenched fist

            a readiness

 

as storm clouds

            rise in the east.

 

 

 

* South Sudanese mother on why she named her child Atong (“War”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beggar

 

 

A dark man, legs amputated

just below the hips, knuckles calloused and blackened

from walking on his fists through soot-covered streets,

 

reaches out to a crowd of tourists—

a towering forest of trees denying him shade,

a Technicolor sky withholding water on a sweltering day,

 

a sea of eyes clouded over

with avoidance. He takes his cue

to leave this hapless pursuit, drinks in the steamy scents

 

from a nearby food cart

and departs with his jaw set and biceps flexed.

The threads from his frayed garments stream in the wind

 

as he pulls past the crowd,

past the loose swine snuffling in the garbage piles,

carrying his small bundle of belongings, his container of hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Hall

Debbie Hall is a psychologist and writer whose work has appeared in San Diego Poetry Annual 2015-2016, City Works Literary Journal, San Diego Writers, Ink Anthology volumes 5 and 8, Servinghouse Journal and Swamp Lily Review. Her essays have appeared on NPR (This I Believe series), in USD Magazine, The San Diego Psychologist, and the San Diego Union Tribune. She is currently enrolled in Pacific University’s MFA program in writing.

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