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“He who has not yet killed, shall kill.
She who has not yet given birth, shall bear.”

–traditional Ethiopian song


The baby was very sick and gradually she died. Or we thought she died. We were disappointed, but eventually we forgot all about her. Her body remained in the same place where she had suffered: the top bunk in a bare room at the back of our rambling house.

One of us went back there to look for something at dawn, or at dusk, or during a gloomy moment at some other time of day. And the baby moved her arm. She wasn’t dead!

But she had been lying back there for god knows how long with no love or attention. Naturally, she was in bad shape. She looked like a baby in a David Cronenberg movie. Her skin was gray and rubbery; her lips were cracked. She had a bloody flap of torn skin on her throat, and her eyes just looked scary, in an Ancient Egyptian/Cat People kind of way.

We much preferred her alive, though we had accepted her as dead. Our main fear was that she might be permanently disabled, delayed or damaged, emotionally and mentally. Which, of course, she was. Like most of the rest of us.


ART CREDIT: auguste rodin. figure volante (iris messagère des dieux). 1890-1891.