I couldn’t look at her face

One more day.

Her cry was weak

My milk no longer strong enough

For a toddler

But I had no choice

No options

No food.


And the eldest one

11, a child-

a man with a gun

had grabbed her

had…touched her

had laughed

and I knew next time

it wouldn’t be just touch


every day was a struggle

a battle

just to eat

to feed my daughters

to protect them

from evil men

and so I ran.


I put our lives in the hands

Of a man I didn’t know

For 1000 small coins

I had squirreled away

From carrying garbage


And the journey was one

I could never repeat

But I repeated

“It will be worth it”

even as the man took me

my breasts heavy with milk

dripping as my baby sat in

her sister’s arms.

They were both crying

But he had said me,

Or her.

So it was me.


These girls are my life

I will give my life

I thought

It will be worth it.


We reached the end

And I thanked God

And wrapped my arms around my girls

And cried with joy.

We had reached the promised land.


The man turned to leave us and said

Cross there

When the sun goes down.

I said, “Wait, with you?”

He laughed

And squeezed my breast

And said, “Don’t you wish”


I had lost the ability

To even flinch

From the indignities


We hid until the sun

Dropped below

And then hid longer.

When all was quiet

We hid longer.


And then I woke her

And didn’t wake the baby,

Strapped her to my chest,

And we walked where

He had pointed.


The lights were blinding

The yells deafening

Chaos filled the quiet night


I grabbed for her

And they grabbed for her

and she was screaming

No! No entiendes!”

And they didn’t understand

As they dragged her away.


And they asked me questions

And I was sobbing for her

And desperate to find to her

And they were unwrapping the baby

And I was clutching her

And I was screaming

And she was screaming

And I was holding her

So tightly I thought I would break her

And they wrenched my wrists

And they tied them

And they took her

Her little legs kicking

Her little nails scratching

Her little teeth biting

And I screamed

And her screams stopped

When the car door closed

And my milk drenched my shirt

A waste.


Photo by Roi Dimor on Unsplash