“19 soldiers from Gabon are alleged
to have raped 67 people, including 36 children
between 2014 and 2015 in the Central African Republic.”
– Al Jazeera
- My body was colonized / in a language of silence. / Strands of my hair entrapped the ghosts
in the wind, / they were not held prisoner / but the abrasions kept them warm—or stuck. /
- The sky was void of stars / or the smoke hid them from us. / We became satellites to each
other, / our shadows orbited our bodies from distance, / until they became entangled. /
- We were planets of silences during the curfew, / the stones in the fireplace were all
we had to fill up our wounds, / instead, we let houseflies sing around the openings.
- Father kept guard throughout those nights, with his knife / sharpened with grief.
- His body was a fireplace / or a mosque full of ashes. / We said our prayers silently—the
soldiers slipped into the house / and stained the wall with semen. / All our children
woke up with bloated stomachs. The wall was blue of a raging sea / threatening
to wash out the whole town. / We plucked out sponges from our tongues / and scrubbed
the house clean, / before we dressed our wounds with foreign flags.
- All we inherited from father was saved in an ambulance. / The siren was muted
but its blue light flickered in the night. / We got stuck on ruts of bones, / now
it’s our turn to unpack the street, / our turn to become the grave diggers. /
- A date tree grows from father’s grave, / we stand around it, but its shadow does not
keep out the sun bites. / After the curfew, we got served shayi / to heal the sores
in our mouths.
- These scars are the evidence / that we mistake silence for peace. /
Cover Art by Stephanie Broussard