The Trees are My Home

Close your eyes with me and enter my home.
The night is black soil smeared across the sky,
Our huts house the infant and old, fires burn throughout our village small.
And for the hundreds of missing children at dusk, there is no 'come home' call.

My young sister sleeps, her mouth propped open still,
Collapsed into my mother's breast,
My momther sways back and forth how I imagine an ocean's tides,
Content I lie across the dirt, feeling deepening dusk's persuasion appealing to tired eyes.

This is the bush, the land we call our home,
This hut belongs to us, my mother built it and smiled.
My sister sleeps soundly but my brother's become a ghost,
his stories live in me, he sleeps miles away, abandon buildings are his host.

Four fingers curl and lock around my arm, there is shouting,
A gun in my face, and my sister screams in young confusion.
Mother shrieks and hits the men, they raise their machetes high,
Her arms split as they bring them down, and they command me to rise.

Shoving against my back they spike me with their guns,
They lead me into chilly night air, where my mother's screams are ehcoed.
The neighbor woman is on her back and beating a man atop her,
She cries and curses and spits on him, she's calling him, a "robber".

Anger almost hides her tears and yet, the woman looks embarrassed,
Her face is writhing with pain and shame and I want to return to my home.
But these are the rebels, the armies in the trees, the legends that we fear,
They are the myths of lost sons and crazy men, and they're upon us now, they're here.

For hours I march and screams chase our backs from the village in which I belong,
Over roots of the jungle by the beasts we walk, I sulk and shiver and pray.
Memories of mother's stories of these men that worhip gore,
Are trumped by her sentence I nightmare about, "a devil commands this war."

I fear I'll meet him in the shadow of the bush,
And there no one will hear me cry.
No one but him as he whispers my sin upon which he'll make his judgment,
He'll steal my voice - never again will I hear - I'll be the example of his covenant.

Across my lips his many hands will bear their blades, and then they'll move to my ears.
His hands trace invisible crosses, his face is covered in solemnity.
"It's not me that executes atrocities," he spews, as my face begins to bleed,
And with a maniacal indoctrination, they tell me, I am 'at home amongst the trees'.

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