Alternative:  (adj) – of one or more things; available as another possibility.

Alter: (verb) – change or cause to change in character or composition, typically in a comparatively small but significant way.

Native: (adj) – (of a plant or animal) of indigenous origin or growth.



Where did that child go? The questioning, playing, reaching for, trying to, failing, stumbling, getting up, laser focused child. Where did they go? Maybe they were dropped one day, in the middle of nowhere, left somewhere in the middle of town. What stage was it? What stage was it? Where did that child go?


It was a small fire really. Nothing more than an ember that was carried by the wind from the jiko. Even as it floated an eager boy watched. Perhaps it was the red glow of the flame as it consumed that corner of that days paper. The story, an assassination.

Even small fires perpetuate erasure.

(what even, is a Juma?)


The business of creating matyrs is often considered a science so precise that only the extremely qualified can do it. It involves finding the right person and building them up in terms of affect. It involves according them freedom. It involves smiling when you would rather not and waiting, patiently for the long term. It involves control of narrative and circumstance. It involves listening as hurtful things are said and swallowing them. it involves wounded pride both of the businessman and of the matyr. It involves building and destroying hope. It involves monitoring, analyzing. It involves listening, but not too keenly. Speaking, but not too often. And seeing, but not feeling.

There is big business in creating matyrs who, after all are the perfect product. Matyrs, after all, offer a power that they can’t come from anywhere else. They give the rush of creation and the madness of destruction.

Power, after all, is not absolute as long as it can be taken away.


(fire continues to be a metaphor for power.

A boy still watches.)


Is that the day you learned? Decisions, consequences, decisions, consequences, decisions, consequences. A mantra, a song, a principle. Is that the day you took that boy to the middle of the city centre, and hang a sign around his neck?

Where did that child go?

Did you think that, maybe, a better child would avail themselves to you once you let this one go?  Or maybe it’s that you read somewhere that you have options. That leaving a child behind, like most things, is a thing that can be done in many ways.

Or is it because you wanted something different? An alternative to the current. To what you know felt like home. What felt like home, but not really. To change home. To make home, what you know, something different. A different kind of what is native to your heart. Where did that child go?

Did he feel the flame on his skin? As the fire that consumed around, began to consume the child – did he run? Far, fast and again.

Decisions. Consequences.

Different decisions. Different consequences.

Different decisions. Different consequences.


If you imagine something you haven’t lost, compared to something you have lost, is it possible you might love the things you’ve lost more than the things you still have?


And if you have lost the memory of a thing, does it exist? Does it wander somewhere in the hallways of time looking for a different type of home? Maybe this is why we hang on to memory. Like a trail of breadcrumbs left in the forest, we hope it will lead us back home.

Home, where the heart is.


Somewhere, between time and memory, a lost child lies; his sobs punctuated by a steady heartbeat.

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