The world’s insensitivity to Africa just stuns me and this poem comes out of that.

Children Locked Away

They grew up in my neighborhood,
but I can’t say I knew them well
Beautiful young girls, young women now
Libya with dark wide eyes,
Algeria always smiling,
Angola the shy one, suddenly gone
Remembering Namibia, slender and quiet,
Somalia, who always knew my name,
Namibia, the one who so loved flowers
And Ghana, a child full of games
And Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, a blur
of flashing eyes and giggled grins

Young women from different families
a little Brit, a little French
some Portuguese, perhaps a smudge
of German and Italian
All dark skinned girls, the mix
gave them a haunted, exotic beauty
I walked that way to share their childhood,
the whole street brightened in a swirl
of new dresses and girlish laughter
Yet they were serious as well, trusting
as young girls will, on their way
to becoming the loveliest of women

Now suddenly they’re gone from us, locked away
into a dark house, it’s windows shuttered,
unlit and decaying, a house called Africa
I walked their street for a while, looking,
hoping they’d be out in sunshine
to greet me, smile and dart away
I hear them scream from upstairs rooms,
tear stained bloodied faces looking out,
then curtains all snatched shut and darkness
I’d kick down the doors, excepting for the fear
of the raped children I might find there
So I’ve forgot their names and walk another street

Poetry Collection: Broken Pieces
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.