aisies and Buttercups: A Testimony
In the snowy fields, we looked like rag dolls.
Sprawled spread-eagled and with broken dignity.
We slept in the open. We were barefoot.
We were called wolf children: Satan's swine.
There were farmers who cursed us. That's how it was.
Threw water over us; set their dogs on us.
From where we stood in the feral-tracked forest,
we compared ourselves to a pack of wolves.
Always stayed together; only afraid
if we strayed beyond the scent of our lair.
We said our prayers in the wait of evening.
Prayers that asked that we'd stay alive.
Some days we did. Some days we existed
a little while longer just eating words.
At night, we heard the prowling howls of wolves.
We felt like joining in. And some days we did.
Aged young and reared on hurtful legacies,
our tales were too grim for some sweet ears
and the comfort privilege of safe walls.
Childhood was a lost extravagance.
Our safe walls had long since been blown down.
My dolls had long since tumbled after them.
We said we'd take all we had: our sheets, coats.
Then we swaddled her up to bury her.
First, we went to the cemetery on our own.
And dug a hole. Then we laid her out.
We had picked some flowers on the way, just
daisies and buttercups: what we could find.
With my brother and sister. My brother said,
"You hold on there and we'll lower her down.
Okay?" That was it. That's how it was.
We stood. Watched. And then we said, "That's our mama."
Let's just say, she looked like my favourite doll.