By Khairani Barakka
This is what they will say about my daughter
And her eyes: that the way they haunt your
Memories are vestiges of trauma, of how a
Child was caught between battling tribes,
Her reddened feet, chapped and just visible
Beneath one ragged hemline, laid waste to
Near-bleeding. Girl, aged eight, page 11.
It was her birthday. She was smiling again,
Moments after the man left our village,
Having been unsure of how to reconcile the
Reach of zoom lenses with a robot cartoon
Seen that morning—both unwieldy, pointing.
Washing off the ruddy paint we’d placed
By her room. The war had never touched
Our subdistrict; all roads to it were closed by
3PM. Their jeep driver would never ring the
Bureau chief. My daughter stood by the side
Of the road, having drawn a rusty, laughing
Rooster on paper with the balls of her heels.