Staggering to Deliver

Left right! Left right!
Right, pause
Left, a stop
Wavering the right arm
For balance
As the left struggles
To firmly keep in place
The meal of the day
Maybe, the only..

 

The sufuria is inverted over a plate
Inside it, steams
Of the hot ugali are trapped
They want to be set free
But only up and down
Can they move
To maintain the hot
Only meal of the day.

 

The embers of the fire
Are dying
She tries to rekindle it
But she knows
It would only be a while
Before they leave only ashes
Yet the final meal of the day remains unprepared.

 

The three children lay
On the falling couch
Not because of their weight
But the missing support
From below, the very below
Once in a while
Snores emerged from their tiny bodies
In a rhythm, no, a symphony
They had been out playing all day
Occasionally, taking breaks to the house
To drink some water
The rumbles of the stomach would then be drowned
Evening came, they rushed in
For the ONLY meal of the day.

 

She watches them
Light from the also dying candle
Illuminates their faces
She couldn’t cry, they would hear her
And she was their pillar of strength
If she broke down
So would they
And hope was the only thing
Keeping her alive
Somehow, it worked for them too
Just a little more time, she thought
Although it was already close to midnight
Had she made porridge
They would have devoured it sugarless
But he had been very specific
Ugali leo, nitaleta nyama
Some protein atleast Mama Guya
She had laughed to his teasing then
Now, she wanted to fight him
For she was tired of waiting
Waiting, waiting
For the final and only meal of the day.

 

Knock knock!
She jumped up and opened
She knew who was on the other side
Asking ‘who’s there’
Would have earned her blows
To her horror, he stood there
Covered in thick, brown mud
He stretched out his hand
She received the wrapping of the newspaper
Atleast he kept his promise
She opened it quickly
Through the now dimming light
She saw the mud and with her fingers
Felt the grains of sand covering the kitoweo
No problem
She would wash it
For the final meal of the day was finally there

 

As she poured some water into a basin
The candle went out
It had used all it’s energy, the wax
She turned to look at the fire
No charcoal was burning
It was all ashes now
She walked to their sleeping area
He was already snoring loudly
She laid down beside the stench
The mud-covered body
To sleep
Forget the only meal she would have had.

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23 thoughts on “Staggering to Deliver

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