I CAN'T IMAGINE (1985)


She took her baby 

from a silent labour
while I searched in vain
for a doctor whose nurse was doing
her hair again, disinterested.

She held her baby,
finding reason in the warmth
her body gave him
to deny, defy death,
then quiet came the tears
in humble abandon
to the act of God.

I try to imagine
this Tanzanian woman
deemed servile bearer
of water, wood and child
for a drunk man at noon

so soon to talk
politics and lesser
vulgarities

I try to imagine
this soul of a nation
unspoken, out of place.

I try to imagine
but I'm white, a man
too far to understand.

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