What they never say

I walked briskly past him, almost lost my footing on the kerb

I pulled my coat into me so it wouldn’t brush his outstretched hand

On it’s wrist was a red band

It bore the logo for LG, Life’s  Good 

How ironic 

I caught him in the corner of my eye trying to keep up

With the sky scrappers on my feet I couldn’t speed up

In a moment he caught up 

My walk turned askew trying to create some space in between 

Mummy, nisaidie na kumi”

I turned 

On one foot he wore a half slipper, on the other an old shoe with a string for lace

His legs were full of scabs, I wondered if the wounds  still hurt 

His fingers were thin, textured with scars and dirt 

His talons for nails were deeply stained, I cringed at what they harboured 

Or the kind of filth through which they had laboured


I kept walking

“Nisaidie tano basi”

I turned 

His hair was in tiny knots in the shape of  Indian tee pees 

His face was a myriad of shades you couldn’t tell the original 

His neck was infested with a million mounds the size of cow peas

With his tattered suit jacket he looked weirdly formal

“Sina leo! “

I needed to ditch him

“Aunty, ninunulie tu githeri”

Sternly, I looked into his eyes 

They weren’t dead

They weren’t stoned

They were rich with emotion besides his impoverished self

They spoke 

“You walk so fast because you are scared of me

A child with his body as his only company 

You cringe because you fear my touch 

An isolated leper without the disease 

You look away because you are afraid to meet my gaze

An unwanted reminder of your duty to humanity


I am a human person!

I desire love and affection from a mother

I desire the warmth of an embrace from a father 

I desire laughter and play from a brother 

I am a human person!

I desire a nice meal from a place that didn’t store garbage

I desire a clean bathe from water that didn’t already rinse a truck 

I desire a sleep goodnight where the creepy crawlies don’t bite as much as the cold 

 I am a human person!

My desire is for the simple things in life”

I ducked into the nearest supermarket and disappeared into the aisles 


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