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Kwame Dawes

The soldier sees in the woman
who milks the cow for a small cup
of cream for the battered kettle
of freshly brewed coffee, the
reminder that all such rituals
are the harbingers of death.
The soldier carries his gun
knowing that when the marauders
arrive howling over the hills
on horseback and crowded in
the Mitsubishi truck back,
that the one who dies will
have in his head, his last
eye, the skirt of a woman,
slightly swollen, her thin elegant
hands, a kettle of copper and rust,
and the scent of coffee.
Then he will die and the mourning
will begin. “Perhaps those who
have no one to mourn them
will lay down their arms,” he thinks.

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