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Wednesday, July 13, 2011


by Penelope Scambly Schott

                         on the news from Somalia

The baskets of the rain have refused to empty.
Crops shrivel.

For weeks now
she has trekked barefoot over baked dirt.

There is no stalk drier
than an unplanned journey.

Her three children
throw thin shadows in size order.

Last night, beneath an acacia tree,
she gave birth again.

No food or water since.
She owns one piece of cloth

and she is wearing it.
She must leave that baby unwrapped

in the shade of the acacia.  It will open its eyes
to wait for the hyenas.

Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of five chapbooks and eight full-length books of poetry.  Her verse biography A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth received the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry.  Her newest book, Crow Mercies, was awarded the Sarah Lantz Memorial Award from Calyx Press.  Penelope lives in Portland and teaches an annual poetry workshop in Dufur, Oregon.