Written by Joni Caggiano


scant trees hold precious life in soil

downpours run without mercy

flushing minerals into low lands

charcoal created from the sparse bush

tiny fingers burn on hot boiling pot

of small green leaves collected

overfished waters leave nets lying empty

silent goat bones weave like shadows

stomachs ache like a black tooth decaying 

blank stares of a slave child with a swollen belly

chained underneath the iron bed frame

outline of a starving dog, teats swinging, 

maggots feasting on her back 

the rainy season is all but a bad memory

rats no longer come to scuttle

they, too, seek refuge from the thunderous flooding

like lids on bottles, they lay on

sleeping children in mud huts who don’t dream

sunset, sunrise the disparity of years,

like a train on tracks that will never end

still dark, families start their long walk

to the clinic now with hope

pursuing treatment for prickling shingles,

eyes like darkened windows, from infections and worms that come in through

bare feet leaching weak lives

sores, rashes, and unknown diseases

from bathing in filthy brackish water fetching pain

darkness approaches as many are 

now turned away

nurses spent, yet we are voyeurs on vacation

strolling along to our comfy structure,

yet I am thankful for the dark

stars filling the silent skies like

tiny reminders of the lost

as deforestation shows its fangs

thinking of how to stop thinking

while fearing the cause is lost

memories of this mission etched in brain cells

guilty of the taste of fried plantains

lingering from our breakfast

never have I seen such strength, courage,

and beauty in human spirits

grateful for the clean cot, I collapse

air conditioning cooling red skin from the days’ heat

lights finally out, and I am thankful

the mindless chatter has stopped

red tears float my cot through luxuries access

into the trivial cooling of baked land

where blue tears of hope shine now

in the light of the full moon as her eyes

see and hear the cries of this country

my sorrow shreds my stirring heart

how do I leave and

how can they stay,

doubting I will ever rest again

I weep hopeful petals as I pray


Text © Joni Caggiano



Edge of Humanity Magazine is an independent nondiscriminatory platform that has no religious, political, financial, or social affiliations.

We are committed to publishing the human condition, the raw diverse global entanglement, with total impartiality.


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