Poem for Children of Congo

The following is a poem entitled “Six Degrees of Suffering” by Lauren Zuniga

Six Degrees of Suffering (Part 1 of 6)


Nyumba is seven years old.
Her limbs are thin and sturdy
as bamboo. Her eyes blink
careful as rifles. She is wearing
her best dress, her only dress.
It used to be red with pink pansies.
Now it is two shades of dirty river.
Slung across her hip, is her nine-
month old baby sister, Ishe.
Nyumba means house. Something
she barely remembers. Once, they
were a family. They were so rich
they had a room for their goats.
Now on some nights, when she
and Ishe are curled up against the
big tree, the sway of her sisters
breath allows her to remember.
The smell of sorghum and smoke.
The soft hay bed where she laid
tucked against the belly of her mother.
So long ago, when she was just a child.


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