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Culture , Human Rights   Poetry


Her silence was forgotten as her tears stained her burnt skin
And the body she carried became limp

Black eyes pierce through the camera
Speaking words unknown to many among humankind




Wanting to ask questions
Yet not knowing the answers


Wanting to ask questions why
Yet fearing the answers

She walks carrying scars of rape between her legs
And hopes of freedom within her heart
As the dusty winds slow her stride
Imprinting sorrow on her burnt skin

And she is reminded of the long journey ahead
Leaving behind charred bodies reminiscent of her own

She remembers the women screaming
Calabashes flying
Bodies breaking
Babies crying
Head wraps floating in the wind
Only to see the faces of clan unrecognizable to her piercing eyes

But that was yesterday
Perhaps today will be a different day
Where millet and rice will be plentiful
And her belly will be full
And yesterday’s faces will be forgotten
Until there is no food again
And the memories of the charred bodies of women with burnt faces appears again

And the echoes of her silence

And the echoes of her silence
Speak to yet another camera
Her piercing eyes asking more questions
Only to be silenced by voices once belonging to her clan that are now her own


The journey has only begun



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Writer Profile
Alfia K. Johnson

I am a scholar of the languages and cultures of Africa, having experience teaching English through the arts and literature to French speaking students in Gabon, working with a women's rural organization in Senegal, and serving as an international development professional and consultant for projects focusing on youth, women, and education in South Africa, Haiti and Senegal. I strive to write and create works that represent the cultural and social nuances of the African Diaspora, and that advocate for social change and an enlightened consciousness.
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