Journalism In Verse

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For He is Kind Unto the Evil

in Africa/Culture by

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
                               Luke 6:27-29

On the bus, the clickbait knows
where I am:

“Ten Beautiful Birds of Prey
Sighted in Uganda.”

Beaudouin’s snake-eagle
with its six-foot wingspan,

the euphonious lizard buzzard,
and cackling Linnaean squawks

gliding together over the White Nile—
Number six would amaze me.

At the martyrs’ shrine, they show
where the Christians were burned

where they marched to posts and rope,
where they stayed, gazing upwards

even after the cords
sizzled away.

The grasshopper buzzard
circles bushfires.

A long-crested eagle perches
among the blooms of a red-hot poker tree.

We all spin, magnets between us
similar poles forcing my back

to arch toward you,
your belly to pit away.

In the pamphlet,
I see the saints,

in old photographs,
lead-faced, ashen.

Everywhere around me
a sea of embers

in the yellow and red and orange
glow of each gomesi.

I recall that Jesus warned
not to let the left hand know

what charity
the right does,

and—there in the amber blaze
of African dusk—

that if the light
within is darkness,

it is the greatest
darkness.

 


READ MORE

American Charged In Uganda After Racist Assault On Hotel Workers [Huffington Post]
Uganda’s President pledges to rebuild Anglican Martyrs shrine in Namugongo [Anglican News]
Luke 6:35, KJV
Matthew 6:2-3, KJV
Matthew 6:22-23, KJV


Professional editor J. Todd Hawkins writes and lives in Texas. He is the author the chapbooks Ten Counties Away (Finishing Line Press) and more recently What Happens When We Leave (forthcoming from Blackbeard Books), for which he won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest.  His poetry has appeared in AGNI, The Bitter Oleander, The Louisville Review, Bayou Magazine, Sakura Review, and American Literary Review.

Photo by Andrew Itaga.

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