Tattered school uniforms

It was 1999 and I was still waiting for the train to arrive

at the crossing, watching unruly kids play with deflated bicycle tyres

spokes, rims and adulthood

It was 2000 and I found myself drinking lemonade

near a dilapidated school building

talking to children in tattered uniforms and women

baking bricks at the kiln

bricks with an unknown name imprinted upon them

burnt in the red blue furnace along with

men, women and children in school uniforms

It was 2001 and I found myself in the rain

under a tin shed with dung cakes and handprints

on the walls, and within them,

the screams of the forgotten children

A scorpion crawls up my leg

carries the weight of knowledge on its back

stings an ungrateful poet.

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