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Photo credit: Daniel Tseng. Source: Unsplash

when god runs out of money (how, no one says)

once a week, these days, we come to

where the pumpkins bob and the lake flies drop.

my father’s widows, long-necked from greening free markets,

rounding the stopped doors,

sowing selves into cupped hands.

my father’s daughters, easily bred on weather-worn benches,

bidding the slow iron,

popping like rows of broidered balloons.


mouth-breathing priest, keen on every exchange (that isn’t robbery),

due for India (bang-a-lorry, one says), something about fused bones,

pleading from a perch of cloud-fisted velvet to

yield your best-liked dolls.


blessed are the fine-haired boys, choking on photo-wry nipples;

blessed are the nylon school-girls, taping frilly light to plastered walls.


perhaps it’s not money after all but a kind of doll that god wills.


mouth-breathing priest, famed for less crime (and more rain),

howling that wherever men kneel before things

other than inflated sense (of self),

god has a mother.


a graven-hipped virgin, a sleek lady, unlike my father’s widows.


mouth-breathing priest, poised for selfies (by the glossy evergreens),

halving cds to return tickets (and fly emirates),

tapping congregants to give all they’ve got.


god loves a cheerful giver.


my father’s daughters, easily bled, binding the fast light,

slipping notes (the tenth they’ll always owe) into brown envelopes.


perhaps the mother of god needs money (to hold).




Davina Philomena Kawuma is, under and above any and every circumstance, a human being first and a human doing second. The daughter of a midwife and an ophthalmologist, she’s a lifelong resident of Kampala. She supposes she’s always written because she’s always read. Isn’t reading, after all, very much like writing?—aren’t both activities a kind of [re]creation? Her children’s and adults’ short stories and poems have been published by the African Writers Trust, New Internationalist, Uganda Women Writers Association, and Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation. Her stories and poems are born out of daily observations of life.

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"Guide to African Novels."


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