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


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




‘Hello?’ she does not say aloud  


Illustration: Anna Gibbs 

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