In the Mountains of the Lion

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Imagine having to go on with no way to touch.
Giving birth to the child of who knows which
stoned soldier, & never knowing the silky
feel of his skin, whether to caress
or to shove away, away.

I let him nurse to ease the swelling in my breasts.
I licked him like a cat — it was all the salt I could get.
Were they not terrible, those severed hands,
when they stood back up at last
& began to point?

4 Replies to “In the Mountains of the Lion”

  1. Handsomely worded, and a handsome look on the page. The first stanza is particularly striking and playful (an odd word, I know, considering the subject matter). It’s as if the choice to caress or to shove away depends on the antecedent to “his.”

    I’m not sure what, if any, historical or current event the poem may be about, but I think I’m all right to enjoy the poem, even in my ignorance.

    Yesterday’s poem was wonderful, too. You’re on a role with these masks! (Sorry…)

  2. Thanks for the comments. FYI, this is set in Sierra Leone, and refers to the extreme brutality of the Revolutionary United Front forces under the late Foday Sankoh – picture Charles Manson with an army.

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