These kids, none can steal their wealth without paying for their poverty,
None can take their joy without taking their tears with it.
Our chicks roam the streets freely with no harassment from hawks
Our dogs are not tied, not rebellious, save unto aliens.
Our goats are not missing, they remain stubbornly with us
But our girls are still missing without a trace, stolen from sunlight,
Leah Sharibu, separated from the herd into night, now wandering
in the murmuring sambisa forest of a thousand demons.
They seek stray cattle from the sea to the wilderness, and walk them
back royally as lords of the road in a convoy of heavily guarded herdsmen,
but hunger humbles the natives queuing up like a slice of bread
in IDP Camps begging Lazaruses on their ways.
Should a father eat when his kids have not been fed?
We now count cattle heads among the good sons of Abraham, as
cows keep increasing upon the lands like kings, claiming, grazing
openly on our economy of crops, with full operation pardon.
Our girls we cannot find, the bones of our bones and the flesh of our flesh.
Our ears filter the news of our virgins married off in Sambisa
Some return blushing with camel blanket on their back.
The orphans who return after their parents died of grief
stare at their hamlets, empty seashells washed up far off
sheltered lagoons, or near deserted beaches of human poachers
—a specie that hates its own kinds.
Tempting a dog with strangers, and telling it not to bark at them
Is not teaching it the vocabulary of silence. That it cannot call
its name doesn’t mean it cannot answer to it.
We wonder why we cannot take the bulls by the horns,
why we can no longer seize these cattle by the jugular,
and since we forget to watch our back, our sufferings
become more intensely severe in their hands than the cow
which turns back to gore the herdsman.