Summer 2007 Poetry Competition Third Prize

Medicine Bears


Simone Mansell Broome



Six weeks, two full teaspoons

of syrupy pinkness, morning, noon, night,

and my mother would dry

her hands on her skirt, perch,

silent, just till she hoped

she'd seen me swallow, then go.


And in between, there was

sleeping and waking and making

wallpaper shapes turn into bears,

hoping they'd be the gentle,

honey-bearing sort.


And every evening, Dad would come

and sit next to me, and we'd watch

old gangster films, Noggin the Nog, the Dickens

serial. More, Daddy, more.


And he'd teach me stuff like -

twende baharini - which means, perhaps,

let's go to the sea, in Swahili.

When you're better, he'd say. When

you've had all that medicine,

and you're better.


Then he'd be quiet again, and stay

till the bears went home.

 ©2007 Simone Mansell Broome

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