Under the Mango Tree

The boys had their eyes dug out and were sent back to Biafra. The boys were all about my age—12 or 13—and even the captain was only 15.

     —“Ben Okafor Remembers the Biafra War,” BBC,
          July 5, 2012

That night will never be free,
but I was a pebble hidden
in my father’s palm
as he waded through the flood.
I saw the trees that grew from the mouths
of skeletons buried on the darkest
day of the war, skeletons who were boys
made to walk through villages and markets blind,
their bodies learning ears could hear a road.

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