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Tuesday, July 07, 2015


by Valerie Sonnenthal

Photograph: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty . Rights investigators from the UN mission in the Republic of South Sudan (Unmiss) warned of “widespread human rights abuses”, including gang-rape and torture in a report based on 115 victims and eyewitnesses from the northern state of Unity, scene of some of the heaviest recent fighting in the 18-month-long civil war. —The Guardian, June 30, 2015

where do spirits go
when they have left
reddened earth
violated bodies
Sudanese girls
women burned alive
their tukuls leave no trace
in ashes of violence
Tabit two-day spree
every man bent
metal beaten
wood hammered
every girl fouled

Nuba Mountains reverberate
bombs obliterate
schools   mosques
health clinics   crumble
water  polluted
nothing  for no one
no one  the one
they were

who counts atrocities
who counts
one war
one way
no where to flee
life simply
, but
where do the spirits go
are they free
must they bare witness
praying for the ancestors
please intervene

Valerie Sonnenthal joined the Cleaveland House Poets when she moved to Martha's Vineyard in 2006. She writes the Chilmark Town Column plus arts and lifestyle stories for the MV Times, Arts & Ideas magazine, and  publishes Errata Editions' Books on Books series.