My mother was raped when she was eleven,
not just by one man – there were seven.
Now she holds me upon her knee,
she was young but fertile, as all can see.
I sit upright at six months old.
I see the world as each day unfolds.
My mother nurses me but never enough.
In a displaced person’s camp, life is tough.
I enjoy life when I’m not sleeping in our tent.
People look at me – walk away, head bent.
Even though I smile, they don’t smile back.
My eyes are light brown, my skin is not black.
I feel my mother loves me, but somehow I know,
her love is not bonding, it’s tentative and slow.
At least she’s feeding me, taking care of my needs.
When I’m older, walking, will she still be there for me?
Arab men have great pride.
They would be happy to know they put me inside
my mother’s womb; I’m a mixed breed for sure,
a Janjaweed, ‘devil on horseback,’ my life to endure.
Will I be raised carefully, as if I belong?
Will I be taught my mother’s tribal song?
Will black children taunt me because I’m brown?
Will I grow up with anger, which I may not keep down?
Since I’m a boy, people may say,
“He’s inherited his father’s violent ways.”
If I’m cast out from my mother’s tribe,
how will I live – when I’m crying inside?
Robert Temple Frost
Copyright © 2006 Robert Temple Frost. All rights reserved. Contact the author