Issue Twenty-Four - Summer 2014

Mugabe Rejects Charges that Detainees Are Tortured

Jonathan May

The government thought we were terrorists
because we looked at a house. White people
would never live in such a house, they thought.

My parents were held for hours, questions,
questions, questions.

While my brother and sister and I cried
in the car, answerless,

soldiers practiced shooting sacks
of corn meal. They looked in at us
from outside of the car, gleaming black
skin pearled in sweat. The weight, they said
through foggy windows,
the weight was accurate to judge.
They must have thought us too young.

The want was after they let us go, no explanation given.
My parents read us the Passover story
and I waited in bed for some dark stranger

to brush my hair back and say, Yes
I will take you into the dark
made of mothers’ wailings,
I will show you what it means
to shed blood.

Copyright 2014 May