Olalekan Joseph Ajayi

(October 9,1975 / Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria)

Street Children


What father brought forth these little ones
Daily fending off dogs and flies as they
Cheerfully rummage waste from our yard?

What mother gave suck to these children
Who pluck unripe mangoes at the park
And await remnants conveyed in garbage bags?

Their laughter in the midst of maggots
Draw tears from my laden heart
While our children eat heated meals

I have felt hunger before
But I know not the taste of stale food
The kind that fills street children with joy

My voice calls out through the open gate
But they scurry away like roaches
Afraid of approaching lizards

Under the bridges at noonday I see them
I see child frames snoring on concrete
The way our children lay on couches

I see no fathers
No mothers
Just children

Bearing the Gospel of bread and water
I tarried among the street children
Gulping the stench of unwashed bodies and stale urine

A thousand eyes pierced my soul
And when I seek the fathers' whereabouts
A hundred orphaned tongues laugh at me

Abandonment has hardened their souls
Like the beasts they fend off our waste
Their armies our scions' blood will one day seek

Submitted: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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