Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Poetry Year August 26th

"The Listening Room"

My ledger counts the figures,
figures of faces,
figurative language.
Rounded curves of "8"
suggest the one whose breasts were cut off.
Sharp point of "7" the one whose lower hair was burned away.
To make sure there were no lice.
"3" can slip both ways, breasts or balls,
or roundness of hips.
Of course we know what "1" suggests.

It still sears in side me, that first one,
my husband's blood spattering in my face,
his mutilated sex in my mouth as a gag,
while to soldiers, some not shaving,
took their turns.

Day o day o sang the 10 year old,
patting his banana clipped third arm.
He was too young, so he pushed the barrel,
between my hips,
where I am small.

Then they tied my daughters to the wall,
the pretty one to keep as a slave.
The other they tied
like "2"
spread eagle and out.
The sickness ones raped her.
Then they chopped her to pieces.
I still see her head,
hair splayed on the ground.
like "9"
I sat on a chair
and wept for two days.

Then my husband's family came,
and took the house,
because my son and husband were dead.
No men, no money.

So I walked. I think I was raped again
while I slept curled by the road,
like "5"
I am not sure.

Then I came to work here,
in the listening room.
The first week,
the soldiers came,
tied me to the chair,
like "4"
and raped me every place
until my every opening,
even where I piss,
like "0"

They were chased away.

So I have counted every figure,
been every number on this ledger.
I am not from some far away place,
with clean panties,
and nice packaged tampons,
who has only shivered at a story.
I am every woman here,
like you.

We will feed you,
and you are as safe here as any place,
because the UN is here,
and they know there are cameras
from CNN
the outside,
so they can't sleep on this job.

Tell me your story.
And I will put it here.
The swinging sign,
the smell of the grass roof.
Have some tea.
Let me record this,
so there will be no mistake,
no denial.
Tell me names,
it can't hurt now.

Here let me comb your hair,
this wash cloth is clean,
and this will dry you.
The tea is fresh.

This is the Listening Room.
I am here to listen,
because I have been there to scream.
My mouth open,
blood still pouring out.
Like this "6" here.
You cannot write?
I will teach you.

There are letters,
and each one reminds me,
of a story.
But the worst letter,
is blank,
because there is no story,
until someone has sat,
in the listening room.

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