Fieldset
this is what happens.

if you are a dinka child, say, 13 months old and have around your waist

a circle of beads looped twice, mostly white ones but every fifth is a

blue like the dawn sky,  and you are naked and lying on the

if you are a dinka child, say, 13 months old and have around your waist

a circle of beads looped twice, mostly white ones but every fifth is a

blue like the dawn sky,  and you are naked and lying on the

cracked black plastic of a hospital bed in the abyei emergency room at

ten pm, and you are surrounded by your mother and father a nurse and a

midwife who is trying to blow air into your lungs with a mask twice too

big, and it’s not working, and the Canadian doctor arrives in time to

watch you take your last ten breaths, and you stop, and you die, then

this is what happens.

your mother screams.  your family outside of the emergency room,

an impressive number of aunts, uncles, and their friends, start to

wail.  your father sits down on the other bed, impassive.  he

puts his face in his hand and looks through his fingers.  your

mother leaves, and the emergency door shuts behind her.

a nurse puts one hand over your eyes, and uses the other to close your

mouth.   he holds them both closed until a piece of cloth can

be placed over your face.  through it, he keeps your eyes and

mouth fast.  another nurse begins to wrap gauze around your head.

again and again and again, until they are sure your mouth and eyes are

closed and safe.  the midwife removes your intravenous and cleans

your skin of blood.  someone takes a small piece of string and

binds your large toes together, to keep your legs closed, then wraps

your feet.  your hands are placed grasping the other, and your

thumbs are bound.    your fingers sit like piano keys,

folded neatly next to the other.  your hands and your wrists

are covered with gauze. last, you are lifted onto a piece of coloured

cloth, and wrapped a final time.   the door is opened, and an

older woman (your grandmother?), comes and takes you from the room.

from there, where?   this is where I lose you.  this is

part of the story I can’t tell.  my story goes on at a thousand

miles an hour,  different things in all directions, so many I

don’t know where to begin.  but yours is done, and there is one

bit of it I don’t know.  this tiny, final mystery is yours to

keep.