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Today marks 20 years since the start of the Rwandan Genocide. I lived and worked in Rwanda for three years. Knowing I’m committed to writing a poem a day this month, I could hardly choose any other subject on this day, but found it extremely hard to write. I have found much of what I have read recently about Rwanda emotionally, humanly dishonest. Quoting facts and figures is not a way to understand something like the events of 1994. Facts and figures bury the faces that can tell the real stories. And when you truly look at, witness, see another human face you can’t fail to see yourself.

You made me wear heels

that rubbed me raw and blistered

as I walked the rough red road

but I didn’t let you down

I looked the part

and the pain was negligible –

but worth it?


I retreated with those blisters later

in gentleness, alone

I bathed them

wondering what blisters

your soul bore

for I walked in those shoes

but a day

and you must walk in yours

a lifetime