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November 10, 2009

This is a poem I wrote after seeing a story about the Saharawi refugee camps.  It was published in the Red Wheelbarrow.

These refugees are caught in a political no-man’s land, yet instead of terrorism the women have formed their own society where they’re educating their children and surviving with dignity in completely brutal circumstances.

Unfortunately, I just saw this.

Unfortunately, they’re still waiting.

Waiting for a Terrorist

Tents staked in desert land, a muted building
of parched earth, in a thirty year old city with a napalm
birth, they wait among gravestones in the sand.

Gypsies don’t roam, children play in dust, illusions
of home.  A woman teaches without books, invisible
unless sand floors turn black, turn into liquid money.

The thousand-mile wall holds. We want to go home,
not until they own oil or terrorists.  Nations clamor
for phosphate and fish, families live a barren existence.

In a London room an electric guitar screams Saharan
poetry across the street from a market waiting for sardines,
gathered from stolen sea.  Seven hundred miles from a Saharawi

woman who rations water for children too large for her breasts.
Eighty miles away the sun has moved, a tourist turns her back
for a more exquisite angle, as ocean laps a canary island.

Lori Freshwater


2 Comments leave one →
  1. dijeratic permalink
    November 11, 2009 1:37 am

    Striking, moving, thought-provoking, heart-breaking. You encapsulate the tragedy of it in 15 lines – beautiful, sad.

  2. November 11, 2009 6:48 pm

    Thank you. It was certainly an outpouring of emotion after I first discovered this situation. I think I saw it on 60 Minutes a few years back. It is heart-breaking. And all they keep getting is talk, talk, talk.

    Thank you again for reading.

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