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My Baby


by Chioma Okoro        


Inspired by a photo in the Legacy Museum entitled “Photo of Child with Infantile Paralysis”


I think of a child and think of a wave in the sea driven and tossed in a curious, restless wind


I think of a child waking up, giggling with high hopes, not a care about what the world


ought to bring

ought to give

ought to say


I think of a child being ever-present, smiling ear to ear with pleassssseeeeees and whines of insurmountable persistence


If this is not the way of a child's life,

what would then be the alternate


A child that lies in bed, for hours on end,

Who rarely smiles

Are they a child at all


Can he or she then feel the weight of this world that makes all the rest of us sinners


All they seem to hear is that things will get better

All the while innocence disappears when one starts to believe things

will only get worse


Whose body is repressed by a fire-like gremlin that makes them unable to





How then can he or she smile and giggle like there is no tomorrow

Is it possible to be a child and your world be maniacally turned upside down

Because your leg is stuck at an angle fit for a never-ending seesaw

While the rest of your being struggles to adapt


In this alternate child reality


Can a child be able to answer the age-old question

If this whole, giant, yet small world

Is all one volatile catastrophe

Or a ball of blissful wishful hope

That Cure is indeed coming


To save us all


What was their name

Perhaps Sarah, Moses, Esther



Favorite food



It is not known.


But their colossal still eyes gaze at an unseen mother, father

Who is smiling at their baby

While a complete stranger snaps a shot


A mother, father who cannot understand why their own baby

Has been dealt the cards to deal with a disease

that favors the guiltless so perversely

That now their baby, full of life

Can barely stand

Sit upright

But yet is confined to the corrupt life

That life often brings

and is

How can an innocent thing be so greatly torn by an impalpable devil?


To take my baby

To frighten my baby

To dismantle my baby


While no amount of Mama or Daddy strength

Could make Evil Itself

Run away to an out-of-reach destination

And never ever touch my baby



* * *

Chioma is a freshman Economics major hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a member of the highly acclaimed Golden Voices Concert Choir and a lead actor for Tuskegee's Drama Association. Chioma has always had a love for the performing and literary arts and aims to continue her involvement throughout her time as a Golden Tiger. 

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