Construction Literary Magazine

June 2019

The IDP Camp

The IDP Camp
Photograph via Flickr by IRIN Photos


              After AMANDA JOY

The IDP camp is a labyrinth of grief, a place not meant for
making sweetened memories. I do not wish to learn more

about my lover’s body, a skin full of retentions, of everything
lost, the mothers, the fathers, my sister, every limb

of my lover reminds me of someone cut off,
to understand grief is to see my face,

a dream dissolving into the day I lost my child.
Expecting no response, I kept touching her neck for pulse.

I learnt something new about loss. Burying a child is a blessing,
a painful one, less absorbing than picking pieces of your dead

in fragments like parts of a car one tries to assemble,
pieces kept for safekeeping.

My heart learns this new grief, the IDP camp,
a place my face unlearns how to smile. Time to time

I stare long into a mirror until my face blurs and I am unable
to recognize myself, my birthmark disappears into a sky

always heavy, grief makes it so heavy. A song I do not like listening to,
a song that lives in a camp full of sad people. Food shortage is always

on the menu, a sapphire’s empty stomach and hunger’s sharp canines,
reefing its forelegs on malnourished bodies in tents,

disconcerted by caterpillars, strange faces, empty bowls.
I am praying but distrust the claims of my prayers and they fade

like ebbing grace, stiffen my tongue.
How it cracks like everything made of clay.