He waited to collect
the image, for the moment
when the bird would open its wings and lunge
for the child, starving in the Sudanese sand.

And later, he cannot decide how long after
he walked away she rasped air through her body:
Arabic, “further, further,” a kilometer from food.

His attempts to photograph his adaptation
of life as something more leave
hardwood floors hidden behind stories.

Pulitzers go to eye-trapping,
shadow filled falsehoods and pretty discrepancies.
His photograph promises she reached the camp.

He tells himself that humanity is hungry for similarity,
but he trips over his own evolutionary dreams,
ideals lost in the replication of each mutation.

Individuals do not expose with the light,
leaving stem cells to slip through the lenses,
proving passion never makes it past the UV filter.

Traces of each subject’s DNA linger
along the edges of the camera cap
With blocked out A’s and G’s, common grime.

This haunting survives.
His starving babe.
His waiting vulture.

Eliza Heath
Twenty 2.0

January 26, 2010 11:01 PM

Touched by the image captured by Kevin Carter in 1994 this award winning poem was written by Eliza Heath which the Greenhouse Neutral Foundation has been privileged to feature.

Kevin who was awarded the Pulitzer for his photograph committed suicide three months after taking the picture.

Join us NOW to help those who are most at risk of starvation

Eliza Heath was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended boarding school in Massachusetts and has come back to the area for college, despite the cold weather. Currently a student at Tufts University, Eliza has also worked and studied internationally, most recently spending a year teaching in the Middle East. She received the Elizabeth Bishop Prize for Poetry, and her poems and short stories have been featured in a handful of small publications. She can be reached at eliza.alden@gmail.com or @eheat on Twitter.

Quote of the Day: "Misery, mutilation, destruction, terror, starvation and death characterize the process of war and form a principal part of the product."
~Louis Mumford

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2 Responses
  1. Eliza Says:

    Thanks again for the feature! Just to add to/correct the bio info, my twitter is eheat, and my blog, with more of my writing, can be found at http://eheat.wordpress.com/

  2. V. Mahfood Says:

    I appreciate the input,and will list this under your poem now. Thanks for informing me and keep up the good work.