Mama didn’t know
The bombs were going to fall today
Thrown from the belly of a beast
Flying high in the sky, not seen but only heard.
My Mama was sitting in the open kitchen
Under the mango tree at the corner of the yard
Minding two steaming pots on open fires
The wind was blowing the smoke in my eyes
Where I sat, bringing tears to my eyes
And I shift constantly with the changing wind direction.
I was playing with my baby doll
Made from my Daddy’s old socks and stuffed with old socks and rags and sponges.
With no arms or legs or neck
Just the mouth for her to talk to me.
Mama said: Jamilah, let me send you to the shop
I need sugar for the evening tea
And some oil for the Zalabiya I want to make
For you and your father.
Take this ten pounds, Mama said
And run across the street to the corner shop
Ask Kuku the Shopkeeper from Darfur
To give you the stuff.
Mama stood by the gate and watched me run to the shop.
I had my doll in my left hand
And the ten Sudanese pounds in my right.
I skipped and jumped as I ran
I didn’t stop to play with Poni
Who sat in front of their house
Or rushed to pat the little puppy doggy she has.
One step I was skipping
The next I found myself flying in the air, floating, sailing without end
My limbs were numbed like they were not there anymore.
I woke up in Mama’s arms and I said I am sorry Mama
I didn’t bring the oil for the Zalabiya and the sugar for the tea.
But Mama said forgive me, child
For I didn’t know the bombs will fall today
And take your limbs away.