Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

A face like mine

A face like mine

By Pamela Orogot

I lie in a hospital bed
No name to my face
No shoes for my feet
Abandoned babe
Small and skinny
Disease infested
Death knocking-
You stop
Move on
But I doubt you'll forget a face like mine

I sit at a busy street
Shoeless, clueless
Six year old beggar
Runny nose
Lice infested
Swollen belly
Hunger biting
You stare
Walk by
But I doubt you'll forget a face like mine

I stand shoeless at the roadside
Twelve years I'll make tonight
Too big for my clothes
Skinny body, freezing cold
Eyes popping n all
Scared of the male prowlers
You walk by-
In your fancy shoes
Pity and jeer
But I doubt you'll forget a face like mine

I squat in a seemingly abandoned toilet
Still shoeless
Eighteen years last week
Metallic hunger down myself
Little foetus bleeding out
You see me
Call the police
Not the doctors
Gang up
Beat me
But I doubt you'll forget a face like mine

I sit outside my slum
Twenty four years old last month
A limp in my walk
Broken bones and scars
Our kids' hiding-
He's back home
Their father
You whisper
Point fingers
But I doubt you'll forget a face like mine

I'm running away now
Still shoeless
Thirty two years old two months ago
My children with me
Nowhere to go
But I'm leaving
The streets my friend…
You despise me
Family wrecker
But I'm leaving-
And I doubt you'll ever forget a face like mine.

I'm lying on my death bed
Forty five years of age last November
My face older my age
My body too frail to fathom
But I'm wearing shoes
My grandchildren-
The few that approach me
They love me
They gave me shoes
It's all that matters.
I'm dying content
I made peace with my God
And now- you may forget a face like mine

This poem was previously published in A Thousand Voices Rising, Kampala 2014.


Pamela Orogot

Pamela Orogot, born twenty-seven years ago, is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. A graduate from Makerere University Kampala and Law Development Center, she currently works as a state attorney for directorate of public prosecutions. Her journey as a writer started in 2001 when she became the local news editor and in 2004 the Deputy Chief Editor for her secondary school magazine. In 2005 she wrote a musical play entitled feminia for her senior five class. In February 2013 she worked as writer for the Hello Newspaper and in June 2013 emerged second in the annual BN Poetry Award.

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