He ran away when he was 9
Father drank too much
He beat mother
Mother drank even more
She beat his siblings and him
Father and Mother drank
They beat each other
Infront of them
If it was not yelling

It was beatings
He was the middle child
He had to be the protector
Was this all life was about
Did love even exist in the world
Fear was beggining to settle in
Habouring hatred in a tired heart
Too young to fight back
Defend his siblings
Could it get any better

Father brought random women to the house
Mother locked herself and cried
He forced them to call other women aunt
His temper knew no bound
Disrespect mother he did
He broke his arm once
Trying to shield his sister from Father’s angry outbursts
Now Father’s anger turned to him
Torn clothes were what was left after the whipping
Life turned into raw wounds

He sits by the bridge watching
It’s five years since he ran away
He has cried his soul out of his chest
Tears became like gravel in his eyes
News came to him
A newspaper clip he still held
Man burns down family home
Killing family of three then turns gun to self
His family was gone

He wanted the ground to close up on him
Why had he run away
Left them defenseless
The burden weighed down on him
Like a stone tied to his neck drowning in the river
Nothing was going to make sense
It’s all my fault, he gathered
He leaned near the bridge railings
Water below rippled against the wind
So tempting
This would all be over soon

She danced her ballet moves near the highway
No music
Yet she elegantly pranced around
So flexible she could touch her heel
With her head
Bent over backwards
He watched her with fascination
How could someone be so graceful
She reminded him of his sister
Suddenly wind blew across his weary face
It’s not my fault, he realized
Letting go of the newspaper clipping
Into the water it fell
He had to live
Live for his family that was no more
He had to continue the legacy of his father’s name
Change the name that had brought such pain
He had to live
Not die

Copyright January 2016

Mulunga Alukwe


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