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Friday, September 02, 2011


by Susan Gabrielle

This year marks the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa region since 1995, with the lowest level of rainfall in more than 50 years and more than 10 million people in some way affected by the growing crisis. As a result, food security -- the access to and availability of food, as well as its utilization -- has deteriorated for most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as well as other countries in the region.   --AlertNet

Guizotia abyssinica
nyjer seed, blackseed, inga seed
harvested from the Highlands
their taut darkness
like the skin of your children
drawn tight over melon-shaped bellies

your monthly ration in the camp
15 kg of wheat
a bit of cooking oil
pushing, jostled, begging
the baby’s head
lolling from side-to-side
five hungry mouths by your side
water?  sorry, not today

at the feeder the golden green finches
perform acrobatics
feast on your country’s seed,
your country’s need
20 pounds for 20 dollars
on sale at Walmart

after dining
they bathe in the
luxurious waters
of the backyard fountain
purchased at the garden center

Susan Gabrielle is an adjunct writing instructor at a university, and obtained her MFA from University of San Francisco.  She has had work published in the The Christian Science Monitor, TheBatShat, and local publications.  Susan is currently at work on a poetry chapbook, War Games.