Poem Six Degrees of Suffering (Part 2 of 6) by Lauren Zuniga

Kesi means born during difficult times.
During the rule of Mobutu, when ten
million were slaughtered. She never
thought it could get worse.
She doesn’t fantasize.
She hangs the clothes.
She milks the goats.
She looks over her shoulder.
She named her daughter Nyumba
because it is something real,
something you can see. When the
rebels came, they dragged her by
her hair, held a machine gun to her
temple, tied her husband to a tree
and made him watch. Nyumba
hid in the corner until the last chuckle
faded. After Kesi gave birth to the baby,
her husband was unable to bear the cries
of soldier spit and blood and wreckage.
He left in the night. Kesi died 2 months later.


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