We are having a discussion,
A group of six
Each telling about their childhood,
The boy in the blue cashmere stares at me,
They wait for me to speak,
Its my turn,
So i tell them that i grew up in eastlands
At some point in Jericho
At some poing in Umoja.
I tell them about the time i went to school in Kayole,
About my congolese deskmate who had smelly feet and even grotesque breathe.
They look at me and laugh,
Some with disbelieve that once i went to school with with completely torn shoes because they couldnt allow me to go barefoot.
I tell them about the girl in my class who was born in a cave because her parents were fleeing the genocide.
I try not to speak about myself,
They do not notice,
Because my tongue is willing to open the safe in my mind where i keep my collection of stories,
Where i keep stole memories.
But there are things i do not say,
Not to thw boy with an awkward laugh and hands that never stop doing what hands do,
Not to the girl who chews gum lika a mule chews on grass,
Not to anyone
Because no one has ever seen that side of me.
I washed it away,
I scrabbed it iff my flesh with salted water,
I cleansed it with prayer,
I bleached it with tears.
There are things i do not say
Like how my mother never sent me out past dark because there was always a 16year old boy playing with a hand gun at the corner shop.
There are things i do not say,
Like how a man was killed because of two hundred shillings and a pair of shoes,
I do not say i am scared of darkness
On a short cut home,
A man stripped me off my clothes and entered me,
As if an ambush,
Since i have never been a fan of back and forth,
And every time a lover tries to make love to me,
I rage war,
As if making up for a rapist with bad colone.
They day i told mt mother,
She wept as if mourning the death of my dignity,
Reaching out for a knife to end this nightmare.
I do not tell how boys looked at me funny,
Of how the ghetto taught me to keep my weapons within my reach,
Of how the ghetto fathered me because my father was too weak a man to face raising me.
I tell them about my math teacher,
She had sleeping sickness
Everytime she fell asleep we’d fly paper planes and fat.
I do not tell them that there are nights i count to 100,
Hopinh that at 99,
I will see the man who destroyed me destroy himself,
He will dig through his chest with his bare hands,
Reach in for his heart and chew it up.
I do not tell them that i major in print because i want to write about the girls who got pregnant in the ghetto,
About the 12 year old boy with stained limbs and pockets full of drugs he needs to sell,
About the girl who got raped ,
Because she is a girl ，
Because some men are like animals,
Sniffing for growing breasts and vaginas that spill of honey anf milk.
We are having a discussion,