EUGENE RUGGLES - POET

Somalia Kneeling

There are millions of holes
with arms and legs
walking through Somalia.
for seven years they have been
listening for water, her descendants.
they are opening wider every day
as they swallow the heat.
the sun never stoops blowing through them,
as though they were disciples.
their only shade falls
from the lungs of Ethiopia and Sudan.
The holes burn deeper
between the arms and legs of Somalia.
the younger ones drink
from the emptiness at the bottom,
they slide from the arms holding them.
They sink without tears,
even for death there is no water.
Their blood will no longer
make its pilgrimage toward the heart
to eat. The sand is their sanctuary. At night,
another famine rages around the living,
as young packs of automatic weapons crawl
and steal closer to their flanks to feed.
The millions of holes are beginning to kneel
with a great silence, their knees
are as black tongues entering the sand.
There is no bush that will burn for them in the dessert. They are the bush.
A grain of rice would cover their sleep.
They curl around their holes
waiting to be filled
with a crust of the world’s seed.
As they reach for the map
made of sackcloth laid out before them,
they are filled with the flies
and the ashes of sand.
Insects anoint their eyelids.
We have come this far
from the cave.