SINCE HER BABIES DON'T CRY BY ESSAH COZETT

West of the Mesurado River


my city was built


between two worlds.






At dawn, I sat on my Grandma's porch


overlooking Sinkor, as the sky


reflected a ripe mango.






My cousins told me about the drought,


current cuts, and how bad the roads are.


Suddenly, everyone got quiet






as a young girl walked down the road.


Palm oil stains on her shirt


as her slippers flapped dust.






They said her big belly babies


eat each other in the womb.


Once she birthed twins in the city




but had to bury one in the river.


They call her, witch, because she sips


cane juice and gambles with eternity.






When the village sleeps


she gathers sand, salt, and kola nuts


aching to resurrect her stillborn.