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Wednesday, October 18, 2006


by Michael Shorb

The thorn of the name
sticks in my throat,
coats my skin like black sand,
stretches out like the White
Nile flowing toward Juba.

We saw the black clad Janjaweed,
death mask faces mounted on
jeeps and camels coming
out of the desert, images wavering
in heated air, heard the grinding
of their transmissions just before
machine gun bullets
began to curse and sting,
our thatched houses
carried off by hate and flame.

Have you ever been alone?

Have you heard the terror
at night moving through
leafless branches,
seen the red eyes
of dawn and hunger?

Michael Shorb's work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including Nation, Michigan Quarterly Review, California Quarterly, and The Sun. He writes frequently about political, historical and environmental issues, and lives in San Francisco, CA.