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Thursday, December 14, 2006


by Mary Saracino

Two point five million scattered in the wind
tossed away like brittle leaves, scorched
by the sun, torn from the limbs
of ancient trees.

Bloodied souls in search of
clean water
a place to rest their heads, far
far from the gun barrels of genocide.

Displaced families trudge
through dusty hot noon-times,
huddle under darkened nights,
pray to the moonless heavens, the starless skies,
pray too for the world to give a damn
about human upheaval, about maimed mothers
and disenfranchised fathers
waiting with each step —
each breath — for the world to rage against evil,
end the slaughter.

Men & women, babies flee,
on foot, in haste, no time to gather
anything but their courage, no time
to mourn beloved relatives, savor a final meal,
enjoy the laughter that used to sweeten
the mouths of their sons & their daughters

Who will help them pacify
the hungry howls of children emptied
of food, of hope?

The hellish hounds run rampant:

On camels and horses, the Janjaweed
raid villages, force boys and girls
into a thatched hut,
strike the fire, burn them alive,
kill their parents who race forward
shuddering in horror to rescue their young.

An ocean away in Denver, a man
in exile recounts the harrowing path
from hell to haven. He escaped with two shirts,
two pairs of pants, the clothes on his back,
grateful for his life, mindful of his country’s anguish.
From time to time, he clutches a phone
listens for the clandestine whispers
of a brother, still trapped in Khartoum ,
a brother who reassures, “Yes I am alive, for now,
for one more day.”

For now his brother rests safely, his hiding place secure.
Though he’s outsmarted the prowling Janjaweed
one more time, outside his window
the stench of hatred lingers. How long before his time runs out?
How long?
How long?
How long?

Mary Saracino is a novelist, memoir writer, and poet who lives in Denver, CO. Her latest novel, The Singing of Swans was published by Pearlsong Press in October 2006.