Standing there watching;
Watching the skies darken
With soot and smoke,
Staining Blacker than the crows cawing
In the night surround.
Watching dreams die
In the heat that could be felt
In the mindless screams of men.
Of women. Of despair all around.
Standing there numb,
Numb with disbelief.
As the stall she had:
Had set her heart on,
In the fire burning hot,
Became one with the ground.
With lightning streaking the skies,
Thundering with the wailing of sirens
Bringing puny hoses. Expecting
To quench the heat
-The fury- of dying dreams.
With the breaking skies Pouring
Forth in torrents of fresh floods. Drenching
The flames. Quenching them. With the clean scents of heaven
Forming splintering rivers kissing her feet,
Bringing her all that she had
In the tin box that remained. It’s charred exterior protecting
Her solid memory of why;
She dreamed, she hoped, she strove.
Sewn on the table cloth passed down two generations
Her mother’s mantra, her heart’s song;
‘From ashes, we shall rise’.
And the sun broke from behind the clouds.
This poem by Rachel Kunihira won second prize in the 3rd BN annual Poetry award, 2011. She won 300 USD and autographed copies of The African Saga by Dr. Susan Kiguli and Unjumping by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva