ICC Kenya Trials: Witness

By Shailja Patel Shailja Patel
was it so I could
never say
across a courtroom
that man, the one
standing there

was it so you could
walk among us again
as if you had shed
the body that did
those things

was it because you could
not bear
my pupils so huge
they would have swallowed you
my whites like flayed kneecaps

when you pressed down
to singe them back
into my skull they were softer
than you expected
you had thought them
diamond hard
weapons turned on you

was it so you could
imagine a time
when you would be human
again among humans
that you had to leave
some of us

Source: Poetry (March 2014).

 Shailja  Patel


Shailja Patel represented Kenya at the London Olympics Poetry Parnassus. Her book Migritude (Kaya Press, 2010) was based on her one-woman show.

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Poems by Shailja Patel

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Social Commentaries, Crime & Punishment, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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