Riza is so beautiful
With the jet black hair of the African Goddess
Sitting like the efflorescence of the locust bean flower upon her head
And eyes that are delicately carved on her round and gentle face.
She is too young to remember her Mother’s breasts
That she suckled on for thirteen months;
To remember the hands that cradled her before the fire, under the starry nights
And the back that bore her while hands threshed and winnowed millet
With the young women in the village
So she could refill her store of milk for Riza.
Riza, being prostrate upon the mercies of nature
By a bullet that sunk into the fragile neck
Of her protector and made her motherless,
Has made her piercing eyes see too much
And her mouth forget how to call mama
When hunger beats against the flattened wall of her stomach.
Who will teach Riza the maiden songs?
Who will teach her to stoke fire?
Who will worry about her, and teach her to cook like mama?
Who will teach her, when she becomes of age, how to be a woman?
Who will oil her hair and place the ribbons before she departs with her lover?
Who will dispense justice for Riza?
Who will be the harbinger of justice for many like Riza?