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Mud like chocolate clinging
to my toes and to my feet–
The tide is lightly
licking at the shore.
Continue Reading »

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Where the Tide Has Been

The pungent smell of seaweed lingers on my tongue
while overhead the clouds hide the winter sun—
Pebbles in the sand
where the tide has been
sparkle like our youth and how we loved back then. Continue Reading »

Dysentery

The outlying areas dimmed as the people and armed militias fled. The fire had shifted into the heart of the central region—the capital, where rival militias had clashed, each trying to occupy locations of no known significance. The capital, with its small towns, wide streets and flags waving on top of high buildings. Yet now the Presidential Palace and National Radio building had collapsed, their walls and towers demolished by mortar. Landing planes rarely used the airport.

Militias won, were defeated and then withdrew. Thus daily life endured amid the debris of fallen buildings and smoke filled clouds. A lethal battle ravaged the eastern suburb, now empty. It destroyed everything in its path, including the palaces of ministries and buildings that once housed foreign embassies and famous families. Daily, the two factions, who never collided face to face, sprayed each other with arterial shooting. By the fifth day, the militia ambushed in the center had withdrawn, leaving the wasted battlefield to the militia waving grey flags.

The triumphant militia swept forward, outflanking the cloud of smoke, dust and pulverized cement. A lookout Jeep screeched to a stop and an officer skinnier than his soldiers jumped out.  He commanded the soldiers to patrol and “shoot even at shadows.” The panicked soldiers embraced their small guns and ran toward the ruins.

The whine of bullets and muffled cries filled the air. Continue Reading »

Angels Watching Over

The 911 operator said, “Stay inside until we get—“

“Hello? HELLO?” Cynthia said. The battery was dead.

Despairing, Cynthia threw down the useless phone. She huddled in the corner as she listened hard through the hollow night.

Nothing. Just the thudding of her heart. She watched her clock, the only light in the dark room.

1:57 a.m. The drapes fluttered open like moth wings.

A breeze played with the spikes in Cynthia’s bright red hair, happy hair in better times. Outside, the porch light splintered the gloom while the moon hid in the familiar mist rising off Puget Sound.

Despite the cool May night, sweat pooled in her armpits and trickled down her sides in beads of ice water. Her bladder swelled to bursting. She heard herself whimper and bit her lip to stop the sound.

1:59 a.m. She tried not to think about the horror she’d found in the attic. Continue Reading »

Outcry

I returned to where my heart was lost
The mystic engraved in blood
Pain spreads through my veins
Capricious echoes; my body rejects –everything deepens
Possibilities of the day gleam in tomorrow’s enigma
I was the altar where torment prevailed
Be wise not to fight, the demise of the age
Plant the wind, harvest the storm—thrones are reborn
Suicide empowered by the last drop of bravery

Nassir Alsayeid Alnour

For two decades, the totalitarian Al Inqaz regime has dominated the increasingly desperate people of Sudan. In its blood thirsty abuse of power, this regime has polarized tribes and races, undermining the fragile social fabric of Sudanese life.

Often resorting to harassment and brutality, security forces have been the regime’s favorite means of enforcing the government’s will. Sudan’s human rights record, both nationally and internationally, demonstrates this type of policy. Continue Reading »

The US and the world are watching the historic referendum in Sudan with anticipation and unease. Indeed, many observers are skeptical about the certainty of the referendum process as whole. If south Sudan votes for its independence, can north and south Sudan negotiate this separation peacefully?

The US has played a leading role in making this election a reality by supporting and guiding the peace negotiations that led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. Continue Reading »