That time, that year
The herdsmen left their cattle
To the care of hunger
Took up bullets to battle
For their brothers’ blood
At the bidding of a stranger
Mother saw it, father saw it
I was not there.

That Same time, that year,
The traders left their wares
To the security of robbers
Took up machetes to war
For their brothers’ heads
On account of the white faces
Mother saw it, father saw it
I was not there.

Children of dead men
Littered desolate homes with stomachs innocent of food
And bodies that were wash free
A thousand dead kids a day
Two thousand set to go same way
Another batch desiring death’s path
Mother saw it, father saw it
I was not there!

A soldier, dressed in the colours of his country
Met a widow woman
Called her attention to his riffle
Beat her resistance to nought
Ordered her legs apart
And defiled her there, while her hungry son stared two feet away
Mother saw it, father saw it
I was not there.

A Black soldier, dressed in country colours
Ordered his way through a widow woman
And defiled her pride,
And defiled his country
While her young child lay dead from hunger two feet away
That time, that year
I was not there!

Another time
Another year
Another era
Father had long gone
Mother accompanied him there
I stood lean in a battle line
Uniform in hand, jackboots
Before me
I and other conscripts
A herd of thin to-be soldiers

“Oh good sergeant
Give us army regals
Give us sticks and boots
But my dear sergeant
Do not give us guns
…for the children’s sake”

Written by: Nick Nazz Obodokasi Agbor

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