The Hippo Child

By Kate Thomas

 

Pudgy limbs

Supple skin

‘Hello?’ she asks the strangers on the bank

 

Forced grins

Clenched jaws

The bold child tastes their sun-bleached smiles

 

Scraps of fish

Zebra and

The taste of sin lingers on her tongue

 

Child wonders

Dragons grin

The sun beats down on a shrinking kingdom

 

Lean limbs

Moist skin

‘Hello?’ she whispers at dank waters

 

Hapi’s child

Happiest

Yellow eyes sing from the growing muck

 

No rain falls

Sweet, don’t

Wander from the gasping riverside

 

Drums beating

Sides quiver

Parched earth greedily slurps the liquid

 

Rain

Rain

‘Hello?’ she does not say aloud  

 

Illustration: Anna Gibbs 

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