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Ode to Yohanna’s Baby


The small cramped quarters

A lone light bulb dangling above

A baby was born

Her bright intelligent eyes wide open


The dusty streets

Where food was as scares as hope

A girl grew up

With rich vivid dreams


The sparse unconvincing classroom

With few books and one tired teacher

A student shone bright

A glorious rising star


The smelly dingy barracks

Where anguished cries go unheard

A young woman was raped

Countless times


The embrace of a devoted companion

Where a promise is dearer than life

An unlikely glint sparkled

Love uninvited


The vast dark sea

His mother feebly fighting to stay afloat

A baby boy was born

No one saw his eyes

Open briefly

Then shut


on October 3 2013, I learnt what despair meant… 366 young Eritrean died and the world watched the whole thing… that hurt but knowing it might happen again fills me with anger… not the righteous anger that makes one rise up and kick something, but the desperate type that makes me want to tear my hair out… the feeling of having so many desperate questions and not a single answer…

One of those who died was a young woman barely in her twenties… Yohanna was eight months pregnant and her baby was born as she drowned… he died too…

RIP Yohanna and Baby, I hope there is no desperate anger on the other side…