Almost

by Shailja Patel

Baidoa, Baadheere, Baydhabo, Dinsur, Afgooye, Bwale, Barawe, Jilib, Kismayo and Afmadhow will be under attack continuously. The Kenya Defence Forces urges anyone with relatives and friends in the 10 towns to advise them accordingly. We are doing well on the battle front, continue praying for us.

– Major E. Chirchir, Kenya Military Spokesman, Operation Linda Nchi 

I touch walls and sweaters and keyboards

as if they bruise easily

I do not want to be touched

in these charred and sizzling days

when all flesh

is frangible

 

killing killing killing killing

repeated enough it’s almost

beautiful

 

If there? They are

enemy. The innocent

were warned. No old,

no infirm, no children, no sick,

disabled, starving, pregnant

in our war.

 

al-shabaab al-shabaab al-shabaab al-shabaab

repeated enough it’s almost

prayerful

 

Where do you run

when borders are closed

when sky rains death

when all paths lead

to conflagration?

 

crush them crush them crush them crush them

repeated enough it’s almost

edible

 

Under continuous attack

scorch the earth

leave nothing

that can be claimed

identified

returned to.

 

Leave no one alive

to tell.

 

attack attack attack attack

repeated enough it’s almost

sacramental

 

I give you

ten towns. Take

Athi River, Machakos, Ongata Rongai

Ngong, Kikuyu, Kiambu

Take Naivasha, Thika, Limuru

Kijabe they will be under attack

continuously advise

your relatives and friends there

accordingly

 

linda nchi linda nchi linda nchi linda nchi

repeated enough it’s almost

potable

 

The ones still there

are enemy. All who die

are enemy. We are doing well

we guarantee success

pray for us.

 

pray for us pray for us pray for us pray for us

repeated enough it’s almost

absolution.

 

First published in the East African, November 2011

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