MICROSTORIES AND POETICS  BY  ARTHUR BRUZZONE

A B O U T
C O N T A C T
H O M E
P R O F I L E

Refugee

  The refugee camp was quiet.

The sun was at high noon. In this hellish heat, he first saw her — caught on a thorny hill.  Her eyes stared beyond the arid land, imagining some grain for her dying daughter.

She tried to find a tear for her frustration, a scream for her rage, and milk for her child from her shrunken breasts.

Amdist aridity and famine, she waited while the child in her arms slept, dying. When death finally comes, she thought, there will be no sign from the child. No last breath from a chest that barely heaves now.

When he saw her, she did not look at him. He walked up to her and took her head into his hands and forced her to look at him. But she looked through him.

How could he know, she thought. The doctor could never know this hell. Her eyes began to focus and, for the first time in days, she found the energy to perceive, to let her eyes meet some object beyond the horror.

“I came to help. Please understand, I came to help,” he said. She stared into his eyes and said nothing.

“We can’t understand the reasons for all this. We can only cope. And we will”.

She didn’t flinch. The doctor knew she didn’t believe him. He moved back slowly and turned towards the relief truck.

She turned and watched him in retreat. For that moment, she believed there was purity in his heart.

Then, her child suddenly moved deep in a dream.
She quickly called out to him. He turned. But he didn’t hear her.

She said it again, louder.

“Help us.”