That Child

“That child, you know him, back hunched over like burnt bolé. You see him on wet days in crinkled pants, chasing after old relics beneath blades of elephant grass.Rusty hair too often scraped with rustier blades, scalp long coronated by a flaky crown of ‘akpanigogo’.Somehow he laughs, I don’t know why. What joy is found at death’s door?That child, you left him. You winced, you spat and you blinked your eyes.He smiles, gallant child, bones protruding like ridges on a farmland. John Thomas unleashed upon the earth that has done so little for him.You wonder why he plays outside for so long, that useless no-good child.Well, faithful Sunday visitor, ask Lazarus’s friend ‘Richman’, all he needed was a drop of water.Mother howls, muscly woman, breasts like shrivelled meat on the Suya man’s table. The one his trying to tell you is ‘ram’. Belly drooping….that child.He wears her slaps like face paint, ‘turn that smile upside down.’ She draws him by the ears into a dark passage to find their cubicle of 4. Oh, sorry that child…5, if you choose to stay.They sit on the shedding mattress to a watery meal. His hands swim optimistically,sifting through seaweed, searching for game.Swift movement, ‘stupid child, your face paint needed more colour.’That child, he’s asleep, wheezing, dreaming. Fingers being mined by that long-mouth rat…”