A Poem We Would Rather Forget by Sanya Noel (Kenya)

A Poem We Would Rather Forget  by Sanya Noel (Kenya)

 thirty one years after the Wagalla Massacre

This is what you remember                 the butt of a gun landing to your mouth

and then the muzzle pushed

way down your throat

and all you could pray for

was for them to pull the trigger.

This is what happened                                    they came for you in lorries

and you were innocent enough to think

that a Kenyan citizenship

would shield you from harm.

This is what followed                         they asked for your clan

but how could you tell that

saying you were of the Degodia Clan

was signing your own death warrant?

These are the memories                       naked bellies on the asphalt

and boots with guns

stepping on their heads and necks.

These are the memories                       gunshots ringing

and truncheons landing on chests

and the cracking of sternums

and the giving in of skulls.

These are the memories                       every sternum broken, was your sternum broken

every skull smashed in, was your skull smashed in

and every thud of a truncheon, was a thud to your soul.

This was your decision                        you were going to die anyway

but the fear in you

couldn’t let you die just lying on the ground.

This was your luck                              the terror made you run so fast

even the bullets couldn’t catch up with you.

This is your regret                               you wish you had died too

so you would be relieved of memories

of cracking sternums and skulls smashed in

of unheeded cries for mercy, and prayers to God.

This is what you wish for                    a chance to forget

that on this day, thirty one years ago

five thousand people were executed

by their own country.

These are your questions                     Do the dead move on?

Did the ground ever quench

its thirst for Somali blood?

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