Flames of red waved at us yesterday

They dried up sweats of our daily toils

Turned into ashes things held dear

And they left – laughing

Yes, the flames laughed at our roasted tears

They laughed at fingers that pointed at everyone else except us

And dared voices of lament to rise above destruction

But we licked the ground and swore

Never again shall this be

Never again shall we be witness to this desolation

That sweeps away even the little we’ve worked so hard for


The sun went to bed

And with our tears it slept

So to our routines we returned

And placed our heads on double pillows

Dreamed of sacks of cash

We smiled over promised slices of national cakes

And blessed the hands that fed us at our point of need

Then we woke up — panting

It was no nightmare

The tongues of fire was at our door step again

Razing all things standing

Waving at us in sardonic satisfaction

Our dewy eyes saw what it saw once, twice, thrice…

They didn’t promise not to see again


We teargassed our forgetful minds

Washed our pain with coloured water

And looked at the smoky sky – asking questions whose answers we already knew


Today we hold onto hope – empty as it might be

Today we hop on hot ashes

And launch the rebuilding of a nation

Today we resurrect what just passed on

For we don’t lay our tools down

We prefer going back to scratch

And closing our ears to the question of the flames

–when will you really save Owino?

[First published in Saturday Monitor]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s