Tuesday, April 15, 2003

How still you sleep

Here I lie. Do you recognize me now? Will you acknowledge me now that the blackness of my skin is in contrast with the sky? It is almost mid-day and still here I lie. Would you listen to my cries if I still had the air to create them? How still you sleep. Can I do nothing to wake you? Finally you come, not to me, but just to pass me by. Eyes lowered, hidden, you see the small black pool on your left. Shaken but not showing it, you look away only to see me. Finally. Children round their mother’s skirts are playing, but you do not stay. You certainly do not play. You walk on.

There you rest. Outside your walls, you could look up and find me not a hundred paces from your bed. But there are walls and you do not come for me. You hear the barking. So loud that you cannot sleep. Come. Please come and stop my seeping. It is not too late but I cannot move. And neither do you. You lie with your love so close and I am here all alone. Only the dogs come to investigate. You roll over and pull each other close. The wind pulls my scent onwards and more howls join the din. A symphony finale. Am I the only one who listens? I am the composer. How still I lie. The audience does not applaud. Finally, you sleep on.

There you hide. Or maybe you are not hiding at all but I do not see you. And then you come. Why? I can guess but I do not know. You hurt me so much. I am afraid but countless others have felt this pain and somehow I feel that instead. In this place many have lain before me. Oddly, I am comforted but still I fight. And still you continue. How much will you take before you leave me? How much of this sugar cane will be cloaked in my blood? Whereas the children in the morn may wonder how still I lie, you may never wonder how still I die. You drop me. Finally. You move on.

15th April 2003
Mbarara, Uganda

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