Where I Come From

Where I come from
Mothers give their children the wheat-flour maize
from their own bowl
To quiet the empty bellies of the young
You eat, mother said
Fathers teach the young boys to hunt game
On the flat, acrid planes of the Sudan
Pay attention, father said
Boys listened to their fathers

Fighting broke out nearby
And soon
There was less food
And less water than before
Many boys left their homes
So that their mothers would not be giving them
The only wheat-flour maize from their own bowl
For none would be left

Perhaps a hundred boys walked away from their villages
They walked
And walked
And walked
A thousand miles they walked
At night they slept under a blanket of a yellow moon and stars

One night a lion came
And ate two boys
It was God’s will said the boys
But the boys asked God why
There was no answer

At day they crossed a wide flowing river
A crocodile ate more boys
The boys said it was God’s will
And walked on

They ate cold wet mud in an effort to keep death at bay
The boys walked
They walked
And walked

The boys arrived at Kukuma
A camp for people who had no where else to go
And many people said
These boys are lost
They are The Lost Boys of the Sudan
But each boy’s spirit called out –
“I know who I am
And where I come from.”