Volume 91, Issue 84

Tuesday, March 10, 1998

Summer lovin'


Prayer against my Ignorance

©Photo by Sam Pane

How can one express the anger?

Screaming naked bodies cast on deck,
Ripped from family and home,
Tossed on a meat market
With a dozen terrified children.

How can you own a life?
Would you eat your own children?

The young girl of nine,
Too old by mother's notion,
Lying in an alley with a man
five times her age,
Wondering what it was she did wrong,

What does it mean when innocence is raped
So that papa doesn't have to go hungry?

Grown men and women,
fed little better than dogs,
Paying the rent of their own slavery,
Eyes downcast lest they catch the masters' eye.
And another life born into death.

Just what does the darkness of your tan mean anyway?
And You:
Statistics say you are educated and white;
Just like me.
So what do we know of slavery, or of hell,
and of rapes;
not of moments but of lifetimes?

We believe we are enlightened
because we don't wear bedsheets and hoods,
Because we say "please" and "thank you"
and wait our turn in the line at the bathroom.

Then go home to people that don't frighten us;
That we never wonder, just wonder, secretly

if they're going to explode;

People that never make us catch our breath
as we wander by a group in the dark.

And We Are All Guilty.

And so I ask again;
what the hell do we know of being treated like this?

–Helen Simpson

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Copyright © The Gazette 1998