Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Darkest Congo

Magazine article WLA ; War, Literature and the Arts

Darkest Congo

Article excerpt

Lean men with granite faces and souls filled with coal

Straightened the line of future victims in the village square

Kalashnikovs jammed into the backs of the slowest women

Tears dripping into the red clay dust

Blood fills the boot prints of Mai-Mai rebels

The tears are eaten by the earth

Come morning, after a long, long night

Not a virgin will exist in Luvungi

Not a mother leftintact, not a child unruined

And the men with the Kalashnikovs, tired from a long night's work

Will sleep under the umbrella of the thorn acacia trees, where the shade is deep

Where it is cool and safe and tired backs can rest in the breeze of the early morning

They are boys really, but past redeeming

Carrying heavy rucksacks and another burden that will damn them

Which feels the heaviest now?

Loaded in dirty mean trucks they move on to the next village

There is another line to form up

Denyse is folded like an infant on the dirt floor

Her skin and clothes and the earth all look the same; affinity

The only thing that is different is the Jackson Pollock

Done in scarlet on the bed, the walls, the bread that was to be breakfast

Her mother who fought the hardest, is in the well, with father as an example

But she is beyond thinking of undrinkable water

She is past beyond, in a place we cannot see

And she will not look back at us

Why would she want to see beautiful Africa again

Everyone she knows is dead, damaged or in that next village

She wishes that the earth would eat her too

[Author Affiliation]

David Riddle is a student at Fayetteville State University. …

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