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The storm, the storm, the storm is coming

By: Pamela Banayoti

The Poem

With enlarged pupils she looks out at the brewing storm

It is purple, she guesses

She’s not sure

She’s five – the colour of the sky looks like her mother’s bruises

She has black button eyes

And they are afraid


Flashes of neon lightening scribble

Onto the canvas of the sky and it is cold

She is wearing her mother’s cousin’s half-sister’s dress

The polystyrene is itchy and it scratches her skin

But she doesn’t notice because the storm, the storm,

The storm is coming


You stare into the mirror at your black button eyes

And finger the purple crescents beneath

Your heart sinks

At the crinkles beside your lips that should have been

Beside your eyes


You and the little one are one and the same


Although now you do stand a little taller,

Your eyes tell the same story


Walk over to the girl

Crouch beside her

Smell her powdered skin

Breathe in her anxiety

Hush away her ‘mares with the gentle touch of your fingers

And huddle her in as the treacherous thunder begins to crackle through


She makes room for you, she does,

And you fold her skin into yours

Brushing away the strands of hair that curtain her lashes,

You tell her all about the storm

What it looks like

What it sounds like

What it smells like

As her days become years

And her hair grows from a light chestnut brown

To the dark chocolate waves of her ancestors

You tell her that even though the storm is a scary, scary thing,

It is the storm that will lead to her becoming.

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