The Stray Bulletin

Arts and culture in East Africa and beyond

The Rebel Fell November 27, 2009

Filed under: Poetry — Sophie Alal @ 12:13 pm
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Somewhere a bullet pierces a woman,

beyond the reaped edges of her clan’s farmland.

She gets caught in a thicket whose thorns she does not feel,

Limp feet drag on to a tree whose name the woman does not know.

With the sun at her back,

Here breaks the charm for luck .

Off her neck are the fetishes

from the sacrificial white hen, herb and hallowed water

To the bosom of the waiting earth.


The woman slumps, face down-

Watching her life drain away

Now the stained soil seeps from her lips.

heavily the grain is still in the sack-

drawn to the feast a fly lands on her lips.

The light dips lower as the last sounds

mute in the darkness, still she droops lower

into a night without mourning.


About her who fell unceremoniously

One day somebody shall write;

No rock or wood marks the grave

of these bleached broad bones

Save for a clump of wild sorghum

hailing her lost name.


This poem won third place in the first Annual Beverley Nambozo Poetry Prize, 2009.