A bed creaks


All night

Still at it?

A groan and a moan

A grunt

More creaking…

In the early hours of morning

A door creaks open

From under a roofless roof

A figure emerges…



Thin and tattered

Seemingly lost

It pauses…

And then proceeds on


A mask of a face

Of sightless, hollow eyeballs

And sticking jaws

Cramped firmly together

Now begin to chew

What could well be yesterday’s curd 

In renewed anticipation


Over a shirtless garment

Ribs protrude

Fleshless under the day’s curious




As I study him

Reality dawn’s on me

Awake from the night’s dreams

I realise

The sounds I heard yesternight

All night

Were not the testy grunts of love-


But the involuntary moans of a

Hungry stomach


The groans of hollow bones

The creaking of a cold stiff body

Devoid of all warmth and comfort

It was the scratching of nails on a dry


Itching from the chorus of stinging


sucking the life out of him


the nightlong screeching of crickets

and croaking toads

faithful companions in his sleepless


the rustle of cockroach fangs

nimbling his weary toes

the ceaseless buzzing of mosquito

armies raiding his body


It was the churning of a desperate


Kept awake by the thought of



Now he roams aimlessly

In this meaningless world


In yet another hopeless day

Destined to yet another

Helpless night

Whose only certainty is being

Cold, lonely and hungry.


by Hajaambi Kang’ara

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