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Feast of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, 2012

 

Despite the new Skyscrapers,

Kigali is not such a big city.

 

In the light before dawn,

waiting for Lauds,

I sit and pass prayer beads

through my fingers,

watching the little

children of the night

fly home to their caves

and crooks before

the breaking dawn.

 

The air is filled with chill

and the sounds of waking

songbirds and an

unmuzzled Moto.

 

Kigali is not such a big city:

to have a monastery in its middle,

which, in turn, has a vegetable garden

in its middle.

 

Roses are planted next to corn.

Roses are planted next to lettuce.

Roses are planted next to mangoes.

The onion are planted alone.

 

Kigali is not such a big city,

but big enough,

after almost twenty years,

to forget the dead souls,

in a rush to build and to hoard.

 

Walking to the café:

prosperity and busy business

all around me.

 

Kigali is an African Singapore.

 

Only eighteen years ago,

a civil war: and the slaughter

of almost a million.

 

To the evangelists from America

sitting in the café, conspiring

to market their needs to

congregations back home,

eighteen years is spun to be

just like yesterday.

 

Perhaps those holier-than-thous

from across the sea

know more than the Rwandans

bustling to work in the street?

 

Across the border,

in North Kivu, Congo.

people pretend at

reconciliation.

Peace signed in 2009,

but war and killing

keeps on.

 

A former student just

attended the other day

a formation on peace-building

she had to pay for

at some international NGO,

the same exact day,

the M23 invaded Masisi.

So much for efficacy

and demonstrability.

 

All the King’s horses… and so on.

 

Perhaps it takes a ransom of

a million sacrifices to

purchase “lasting” peace

or, at worst, temporary

prosperity…

 

Kigali is a big city, where

everything appears upright and stable,

but then, again, so did things

here in ’93, and again, in speeches

made in Rutshuru, across

the border, at the peace signing,

in 2009.

 

But in Rutshuru, they’ve been fighting since Good Friday…

 

Tomorrow, to Uganda…

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