May 14, 2021

A Poem for Rwanda.

It was 1993. I was 12.

A woman was crying on the other end of the TV. It was different. A soul-wrenching cry I’ve never heard before.

Her sister was gone. Her sister’s kids were gone. Two of her sister’s children died from sickness and the baby was chopped into pieces. And her sister tragically died with her baby too.

She kept screaming, Hutus men! Hutus men! They are devils!

It was hard to understand such hate in the world. And being naive, well it was my first out-of-country news experience that stuck with me.

I’ll never forget that interview. Trying to make conversation in my home about what I saw on TV, and since questions only irritated my stepmother, I was told that I don’t need to worry about that.

I’ve looked for it for many years but have never found it again.

I was compelled to write this several years ago.


The garbage bag holds cloth of blood and body parts.
She cries as she ties it,
this beaten mother.

There’s no glee in tragedy.

She wished she had been the one to die,
and these Hutus men walk around
acting like they have nothing to hide.

Her grief becomes boiling rage.
She cannot understand.

How dare they do this to her child,
to her life,
to their fellow human.

Now, this Tutsus woman is nothing other than alone.

Her first two children died from sickness and starvation.
Her last baby was taken by an irrevocable madness of putrid violence.

She watched the last of her heart being shred limb from limb.
And these men laughed hysterically—
waving machetes.

All that is left of a life she lived for,
is in this dripping bag.

Her will, becomes dust.
All hope, is gone.

She lays down beside what is left of her child.
She touches the blood-soaked cloth
thinking that if she touched his blood,
he would soak into her.

She didn’t notice the Hutus man walking up behind her,
who, in a glimpse,
grabbed the bag and ran.

Screaming, she arose!

She chased after him as he laughed to a mass grave and threw the bag in.

She collapses and sobs so gut-wrenching for the dead dismembered child
and begs loudly for an end.

“Death to Hutus men!
Death to Tutsis men!
The flesh of my child rots with your hate.
Take my life, I’ve nothing left.”

Not a moment to waste,
she received a bullet to her brain and was kicked in the hole, next to the bag,
with no shame.

Darkness has taken her.
There is no more to suffer. No burden of losing and living without her heart—
her children.

She sees;
Bright lights.

She feels;
No anguish.

She finds herself putting clothes on the line and feels the warmth of the sun from behind.

She hears the laughter getting louder and turns around to find her three babies safe and sound.

The memory isn’t there of the pain she had felt.
No darkness, no hurt, no regret.

The sky seems different to her, the clouds are still, and the air tastes of sweet nectar.
She smiles and watches her children dance,
taking in every sight that cast silhouettes.

Today, she is reunited with her heart, for this day she has prayed.


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