Even if you lie down

I can’t imagine how you

lie down to work,

your body old,

your body used,

your body not your own,

but that is all you have

to earn your keep,

to find a way to feed

those mouths, but they don’t see

what you do to have their stomachs filled.


And you do it to survive and there

are no tears left to fill the void,

except in dreams that you once had,

and there are no regrets for this is all there is

and this is what you must do for the greater

moral good that does not seem a good at all.


This is what you must do in the anarchy,

and in the insanity that is this country

and this place where hope is for the few

who can afford its price and not have to

endure the dignity of the work,

that elsewhere is seen as being for

the lowest of the lowly.


Even if you lie down,

even if you lie low,

even if you are condemned,

you stand high and

you stand for love’s pain,

for you do not have the luxury

of the possibility of defeat.


For all older African women who have to sell their bodies to help their families survive.