the camp at musina

she sat for two days, waiting

for officials to acknowledge her.

reporters found her first,

told her story to the world.


watch her wait in squalid conditions

at the gates of the makeshift refugee camp,

hungry baby in her arms. she walked, you know,

for two days before she came to the limpopo

swathed in crocodile-infested darkness. 


she waded in, baby on her shoulders,

boy by her side.

she felt the ford deepen,

sent him back (he could not swim).

she forded on with the baby. he was four

and would fend for himself.

Peter Midgley is a poet and storyteller based in Edmonton. He has performed in several countries around the world and has published three children’s books, one of which, Thuli’s Mattress, won the International Board on Books for Young People Award for Literacy Promotion and has been translated into 27 languages. He is also the author of two plays and a collection of poetry. Peter writes in English and Afrikaans. His bilingual volume of poems, perhaps i should / miskien moet ek, appeared with Kalamalka Press in 2010. His creative nonfiction book, Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story, is due out in 2014 (Wolsak & Wynn). A second collection of poetry, Unquiet Bones, will be published by Wolsak & Wynn in 2015.