Monday, April 6, 2015

Why am I awake?

Something moved outside. He felt rather than heard it.
Couldn’t be the pre-dawn chill—it’s mostly hot in Garissa—
but he felt cold. He peered through the windowpane,
at dry and dusty terrain. Could it be the Muslims,
up early for the Morning Prayer?
He caught the moon full with a sleepy eye.

Why am I awake? Good Friday service starts in four hours.
It’s the long weekend—plenty of time to study.
A bed creaked, hostel night silence broken—
someone turning in slumber. Why am I awake?
He didn’t know.
I should have gone home, came back Monday. Seen family.

Why am I cold? He pulled the covers.
He had called his girl before he slept. Always a warm feeling—
He wished he could call her now.
Her voice alone would keep him warm.
A muffled shout, a sharp rattle, a dull thud.
What was that?

Shock pushed him into forward, jerky starts.
Moving in his halo of cold, he bumped into his starting mates,
eyes wide, bewildered, afraid.
Why am I cold? Screams made his halo colder.
It’s freezing in here. Rattles again, and shouts—louder this time.
A name of God.

Windowpanes shattered. The air outside was forbidding,
hugging his halo, thin over his bare skin,
his boxer shorts a light flutter in portending breeze.
In an eon moment, he understood. But, why?
He froze at the horror of death,
twistedly coming in the name of God.

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