Look Away, Child.  

By Dan Mulinge


I’m in line at the hospital,

Seated, not standing

With an awkward distance from her,

Her two little incisors proudly present her smiles

Her scattered hairs, a sombre yet fun reminder

That we are all born bald, and delicate.

She’s playfully dancing on her mother’s lap,

As if it were a ball room and she, the ballerina

I make faces every time she looks this way

I wink, and she blinks twice,

I smile under my mask, she smiles back openly

Her little fingers clutch her mother’s skirt, she ascends

She’s stands, then walks, supported by the bench.

She looks up at me, wanting to be held.

I cannot touch her. I should not touch her. Or hold her. Or tickle her

So long are the days of abujubujubujuu!

So long, child, are the days we’d hold you and play along.

Corona is watching, I better not be her victim.

And neither should you.

So I let her walk around,

I have stopped making faces, she won’t be tempted to be held

By anyone but the mother.


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