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Wednesday, March 31, 2021


by Sarah Mackey Kirby

Britain's Channel 4 recently aired a devastating report on these atrocities. One survivor recounted a harrowing 10-day ordeal to the network during which she said she and five other women were gang-raped by Eritrean soldiers. She said the troops joked and took photos as they injected her with a drug, tied her to a rock, stripped, stabbed and raped repeatedly her. Doctors who've treated Tigrayan women have said one woman's vagina was stuffed with nails, stones and plastic. —CBS

is filled with stones,
nails. By her captors.
If she is not human,
if she must be bloodline-cleansed
from existence,
then why does crying matter.
The sun rises all over the world
as if it doesn’t know.
And sets apricot embers
each evening.
In darkness, a woman in Tigray
is filled with stones.
Filled with soldiers.
Alone below Orion’s belt,
sharp in the night sky,
glowing fire
three stars in a row.

Sarah Mackey Kirby's first poetry collection The Taste of Your Music (Impspired) will be published in May 2021. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Chiron Review, Connecticut River Review, Impspired Magazine, and elsewhere. She and her husband live in Louisville, Kentucky.