Thursday, 13 November 2014

8,000 hands

Black shadows under trees,
the bodies lay by the road for days.
A team in white space suits
zip up the body bags, but
there is nowhere for them to go.

A dead man’s nine children gather
with others across the street,
a strip of mud between them and disease.
Thirty stand in the shade there, ‘to be safe’.
There is nowhere for them to go.

These children have touched the virus;
there are no foster families,
no reception centres, no welcoming arms,
there is nowhere for them to go.
Aid workers can only offer soap.

Asked if they have lost a parent to ebola,
each child puts both hands in the air
and stands in the silence, to stare.
4,000  will raise both hands today
to make black shadows across paths of mud.
No one will touch them.

There is nowhere for them to go.

On The Front Line in Sierra Leone
Ebola's orphans
© Jackie Biggs

Jackie Biggs, from west Wales, has had poetry published on websites, in magazines and anthologies. Some of her poetry appears on her blog:
She performs her work at live literature events all over west Wales.