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By Jo Walton

With Jo's permission, I've boosted a poem she wrote in comments as a response to my post "Mr. Dickens in Africa". She didn't provide a title. I would have called it "Desmond" because I'm moved by the spirit of the boy. But it ain't mine to entitle so I guess it's unentitled:

They bring kids in infected so they won't live long,
And you have to give them coffins which you can't buy for a song,
So we teach kids to build coffins against the day they die,
It's a life skill, it's a death skill, if you don't stop to wonder why.

One infected boy called Desmond was a tiny waif, but brave,
Saw the others building coffins then be lowered to the grave,
Asked for wood to build his coffin, that would hold him, as the plan,
Built it strong and long and hopeful, for a six foot man.

You could do a google search on "", if you were so inclined, I suppose.


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