The Last Villager from Issue 86
They said, You made your son a sheep bladder
football. We made him a soldier. They said,
You wasted goat hair stuffing
your daughter’s doll—what wife
needs a doll? They said,
Deny to the inspectors you lived
here if you want to keep your tongue. I kept
my tongue. When they shot us I hid
under bodies then crawled
to find someone—peacekeeper,
rights worker, driver, journalist—to tell,
to commit our names—Ebele, Dsane,
Apuri, Osadolo—to a post, a wire,
a record on paper, a web, a cloud,
a wave circling the earth,
my wife, my children, me, so others
must know the whole of us they lost.
We loved the taste of red jujube,
the click of locusts in long grass.
Each day a smile, we walked
home when late light turned
grain heads to flames that didn’t burn
our fingers as we brushed them.