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.
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
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 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.