By Cameron Conaway
“Malaria in pregnancy causes 200,000 still births in Africa.”6
As the shadow attaches to her toes
so the mother slings the still
born over her shoulder until night
when her birthed treasure is buried
with the others under the blankets.
At cock’s crow she presses the pink
of his unformed lips to her breast.
Soon the dead will have another
birthday and she will tell him stories.
Though skin worked as silk turns
rough as road she will caress
river rock moss with her bare feet
as she traps fish and recall the never
there of his black downy hair.
In bed when the cold cat curls
around her like fog it will be him
and she will match her breath to his.
Unlike most in these hills she knows
miracles aren’t and will can’t but she
is dreaming deeply and nothing beats
back cold like real or imagined smiles.
About the Author
Cameron Conaway is the Social Justice Editor at The Good Men Project. He was the 2011-2012 Poet-in-Residence at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand and the 2007-2009 Poet-in-Residence at the University of Arizona’s MFA Creative Writing Program. His work has appeared or been reviewed in ESPN, The Huffington Post, Rattle, Teach Magazine, Möbius The Australian, Cosmopolitan and the Ottawa Arts Review, among others. His first book of poems, “Until You Make the Shore,” was released in Winter 2013 from Salmon Poetry. For more information visit CameronConaway.com.
6. Ghana Web. Title. 06/12/2009. http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=163616