On the outskirts of Luanda, Angola,
Gerald Nduma has walked an hour to school
carrying his chair, which is really
an empty coffee can. Nine years old,
he holds in his other hand a mango
which will be his lunch. At school,
which is really a tree, Gerald
places his lunch beneath his chair.
This day, a missionary has come
with magazines. Gerald takes what
is given him. Soon he does not hear
the teacher’s instructions. He does not hear
the students’ chatter. He is looking
at the photograph of Earth
floating in a dark sea
which Gerald imagines
is plenteous with fish.
Copyright © Pamela Porter. Originally published in Cathedral (Ronsdale Press, 2010).
Pamela Porter’s work has won more than a dozen provincial, national and international awards, including the Governor General’s Award for her novel in verse, The Crazy Man. Her poetry been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster Awards, as well as the CBC/Canada Writes prize. Her twelfth poetry collection, Defending Darkness, was released in 2016 by Ronsdale Press. Pamela lives near Sidney, BC with her family and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs, and cats. Find Pamela on Twitter at @trailpny.