By my rivers – the Merrimack
and the Piscataqua, so far
from the Kaduna, the Jebba, the Niger,
I sit down to weep.
How can I sing the songs of Mother’s Day,
receive the thumb-smudged card,
flowers, a phone call
from my daughter in California
when other mothers’ daughters are gone.
Bring back our girls.
If I forget you, torn from your classrooms,
dragged from villages in the night,
and if I forget your murdered brothers,
may every sweet memory
of my children’s childhood wither
and be lost to me,
may my tongue cling silent
when I want to say, “I love you.”
Remember, God, the violence
of Boko Haram
that it turn to dust in their hands.
and tear down, tear down
the many foundations of anger
built on Western abuses.
Happy be the ones
who guide safely
between the terrible rocks
of politics and economy and religion
all the little ones of every nation —
there is too much dashing.