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By Dilruba Ahmed

They staunched the wound with a stone.

They drew blue venom from his blood

            until there was none.

When his veins ran true his face remained

lifeless and all the mothers of the village

wept and pounded their chests until the sky

             had little choice

but to grant their supplications. God made

             the boy breathe again.


God breathes life into us, it is said,

only once. But this case was an exception.

God drew back in a giant gust and blew life into the boy

and like a stranded fish, he shuddered, oceanless.


It was true: the boy lived.

He lived for a very long time. The toxins

were an oil slick: contaminated, cleaned.

But just as soon as the women

kissed redness back into his cheeks

the boy began to die again.

He continued to die for the rest of   his life.

The dying took place slowly, sweetly.

The dying took a very long time.


Source: Poetry (November 2013)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Mythology & Folklore

Poet Bio

Dilruba Ahmed
A writer with roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Bangladesh, Ahmed earned BPhil and MAT degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has taught in Chatham University’s Low-Residency MFA program. See More By This Poet

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