Africa / PoeTori

Tell My Feet I Made It Home

The next time my feet touchdown on your Earth,

I will lay wreaths with every step I take

on this ground that wreaks

of restless bones and rippling blood

Rwanda’s nine hundred thousand,

Biafra’s three million,

Congo’s five million.

“What are you doing?” brother asks,

“We are not like them,

We have peace”

Peace you say, brother?

We live on the same mass of land

Shaped like the gun that wounded


 Dare you tell me what we have and “they” don’t?

Across imaginary lines drawn by short-sighted

Conspirators in the misery of this future,


Sierra Leone’s fifty thousands,

Liberia’s two hundred thousands,

Darfur’s three hundred thousands,

 Brother, you cannot even count your dead hairs

To one thousand

Yet we have numbered fallen heads

Well past one thousand.

In 1967, 1970, 1982

1992, 1994, 1996,

2002, 2004, 2012,

 We still harbor and breed the

same hearts that fuel

the killings of our brothers,

who regard power as an entitlement

Until no other

Taylor, Kony, Amin, apathetic You and Me,

Is born and bred of our kin and soil,

We know no peace.

 So brother,

Every inched step I take

On this hollow ground

Will not pay tribute enough.

My libation is not blood.

So mother’s Earth will spit it

right back at me.

 We co-conspirators who never get impugned

by international criminal courts

For aiding and abetting in our silence and inaction

or mere greed, or plain ignorance.

The law is for us,

The Earth is not.

Neither is history, their lives, their blood.

 We parade ourselves with our good consciences

We mistake the crown of thorns beset upon our temple

As royal diadems

We forget

Their dead bodies shielded us

From the bullets of the rebels

When there was no other place to hide


We are the culprits

When we tell ourselves

We do not have the voice to stop them

We lie.

We outnumber them

Both the dead and the living.

It seems to me now more than ever that

touchdown in the motherland

means a certain distancing from Mother herself

A deafening to her words, an oblivion to her grief

Adichie said “the world was silent when we died” 1

Gourevitch informed us  “tomorrow we would be killed with our families” 2

Achebe told us of  “girls at war and other stories” 3

In no time I board my plane in frenzied steps

As far as my feet will carry me

Because white-man savior complex or not, I realize

Only far away from home

do I hear Your cry, scream

Most audibly and provokingly.


We are waging senseless wars

When the war we should be waging

Is within us.

The next time my feet touchdown

on your earth

I hope I can tell my feet

I made it home.


~ Mehitabel Tori Markwei

Poetori Inc ©

2nd Dec. 2012.


2 thoughts on “Tell My Feet I Made It Home

  1. Pingback: Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime. « The Kente Weaver


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