If you didn’t take my tiny little fingers and show me how to trace on a sheet
With my hands closed, tightly around that skinny pencil
Perhaps, now, I wouldn’t be able to strike with a pen, like I do now
I wouldn’t even be here, writing
If you didn’t hold my hands, during the nasty days of the war, walking from
Matadi to Sawmill, ICA Camp Sinkor to Duport road, walking past dead bodies,
checkpoints manned by bloodthirsty looking thugs, shielding my face from them, so they couldn’t hold me up and make me a small soldier, I would have been gone- gone to the world of the hopeless, living on drugs, maybe or left behind, decades back in everything from ABC to 123
I’m so glad you did, or else I wouldn’t be here, smiling
If you didn’t deny yourself food, when in those days all we had was palm kernels and sugarcane
Palm cabbage and wild eddoes leaves, kissmeat and coldwater fish, chased from the swamps,
When food had taken on wheels and run away like the ostriches do, Monrovia had turned dry, dry like the bottom of a deserted river, fish was now eating fish, crab eating crab.
You denied yourself food that I could eat
Or else, I wouldn’t be alive today, eating and kicking
If you didn’t go out, hiding under stray bullets, looking for food for us, when all we could look at was the walls, thick, bare and mean, when eating was a luxury, that many could not afford,
I would have probably been left by the roadside, like many kids were, struck to death by hunger
Or I wouldn’t be here today, living.