Six hours

To live is to suffer but to survive is to find meaning in the suffering – DMX


The poem below is about a sickle cell crisis.

It’s 11 54 pm
She has no strength for space bars
The belt has wrapped itself round her waist
And begins to press.

It’s 11 55
Never a time worse than this
When the neighbours sleep
And pharmacies closed
Who’ll come to her rescue now?

It’s 11 56 pm
The belt has grown into a corset
It’s spreading to the chest and the hips
And there’s nothing to stop it now.

11 57
It has washed over her like a wave
She cannot but endure this parasite
As she tries to deny her own rain.

12 00 am
She has broken and her eyes flood
There’s nothing worse than being unprepared
They say it’s because the cells cannot breathe
So they choke as they move through her soft bones.

She’s been squirming and wriggling for two hours
Maybe the pain will reduce when I face that way
And she goes on and on another hour
Trying to find a way to keep it at bay.

It’s 4 00 am
She really can’t tell
Whether it will be worse in the morning
Or she’s made it through hell.

She’s weak and tired and closes her eyes
And hopes sleep will be a redeemer
If she’s to get worse in the day
At least they’ll take her to Mulago
For they’ll all be awake.



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