I wrote this poem over a year ago. Just publishing it now as a reminder of all the childhoods lost to conflict in Africa.
I secretly scribble myself quick notes in the sand
The 12 times-table.
Many have much to say,
But I fear that with each word,
A memory will leave my mind.
The purity of my previously-untainted
Canvas of childhood
Has been replaced
With repetitive, abstract strokes of
Abandonment and neglect.
My confidence is now a delicate instrument -
Its strings have been plucked thin.
It vibrates no more.
My worth is summed up in placards.
I’m the still life art piece
Hanging on the walls of this forest home.
There exists no noise without silence,
So I’ll retreat into the vacuum
Where my stolen soul now lives.
An exodus is required for my survival.
The child in me must depart.
Help me find me.