Folks, I know I’m way behind in visiting your sites, and for that I apologize. Think I’m back in the swing of things, but (and this is a good thing, not a complaint!) so many folks have wonderful comments, it’s hard to get to everyone’s sites for a look. I’ve given up on responding to comments on my work, but I guess visiting your site is better than blathering here!

Josie Two Shoes, a new friend, has begun her own prompt called “Two Shoes Tuesday.” This week’s word is “sacrifice,” so see what you think of my efforts below. I love all you folks for visiting, for being patient when I’m battling my manic depression, for being a source of strength, support, and community to me and so many others. Peace, Amy

African Mother’s Ferocious Love

Hunted, trapped like animals in their own village.
Strapped one to another: Mother, daughter and son.
Shoved into ships, below deck, so cramped,
no room to stand, sitting in human waste, crying.

The voyage was nauseating, grueling.
Thin gruel, water from barrels, not like
the clean, cool waters of streams of home.
Steadily, her people died of fever and starvation.

The sound of the whippings, the moans, night murmurs.
Her son finally succumbed to the wasting disease.
Now, as she wondered whether they would ever see land,
she felt his same gripping pain in her gut.

Up on deck for the hosing down and whipping,
she clutched her baby girl in her arms, carefully
inched her way to the rail and, in an instant,
they were both overboard, taken by the sea.

Her son had already been given to the water
after his death, tossed over like garbage.
At least now she and her baby girl would join her son,
together forever, engulfed in the endless waters. Free.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

NOTE: This poem has been edited from its original form, written in 2010.  It also appears at my poetic haven, Poets United.