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I’m Scared “Run,
run, Poppy! Hide in
the co’na,” Momma yells.
An’ I nod an’ run ta da corner
‘cause I’m used to it.
An’ I throw tha blanket
ova my lil bald head,
my heart beat gettin’ fasta.
I can hear the wheels
that them army men be drivin’
an’ I draw my stick legs up to ma’
lil’ black chest an’ shake
like a brown leaf in the wind.
Them bad people, Kony’s people,
They gone an’ taken ma’ brotha
And they tryin’ ta take me too,
Thas what Momma says,
‘cept they don’ know I live,
cause Momma, she hides me
an’ protects me good.
Ma daddy gone and died from AIDs
And now ma momma’s a wreck.
She be sayin sometimes, “Akin,
I ony got you ta be da man a da house
an’ you gotta take care a me. Ya hear?”
I listen good and I try. But iz hard tho’
cause I’m real lil and I can’t lift wood
an’ work fo’ food an’ stuff.
“Someday,” I say, “I’ll get a million
shillings, Momma, and I’ll be da
king. And you’ll be ma queen. I promise ya, I will.”
And my momma, she goes and laughs
her sad-eyed laugh an’ I smile an’ laugh too
‘cause when Momma’s laughin’
ever’thin’ feels like its gun be alright.
Now we aint laughin’ tho.
I shiver and squeeze closa to the
cold, clay corna.
The gun shots ah gettin’ louda now
from outside ma blanket hidin’-spot. Then alla sudden,
they just stop. I wanna take a peek out
but I stay still. Momma stops pacin’.
Are they gone? I hope..
“In hea!” I in a hoarse voice shout
in ma native tongue, Soga.
The voice sounds real nearby.
I squeeze myself tighter in the co’na,
hopin ta disappear, become invisible.
“Hey you! There ain’t nothin’
in here! You took my son, Abiodun.
Get gone. You taken enough,”
Momma’s voice calls out snappily.
“We just gun double check
ma’am,” tha voice replies an’ I shiver.
an’ then listen as somethin’ hard
hits somethin’ soft, Momma cries “oof”
and then, she falls to the stone-cold floo’.
Instinct tells me ta help her,
but I stay put.
The guys are talkin’ ta each other, whisperin’. Ma heart
beat quickens. I hold my breath an’ dig ma nails
inta ma arms, tryin ta stop from shakin’.
The voices are closer and then
my strong blanket-fort is destroyed.
“I found one” an ugly black guy yells.
Another one comes up behind him and grins.
Momma gets up. “He’s too young, on’y six.
Don’t take ‘im,” she cries. And then,
there’s a bang. Momma’s on the floor
bleedin’ more than I eva saw. “No, Momma,” I sob
and try ta run ta her. Them big guys kick me down.
“Akin,” Momma whimpers like a dying dog an’
she shuts her eyes tight like death.
“Lemme go.” I start cryin’
‘n’ thrashin’ about tryin’ ta escape.
I can’t be king like this.
Momma can’t be queen dead.
Then, the guy who shot my momma
throws his gun down on me and
smashes my jaw in. I taste blood.
I feel fuzzy as they drag me outta my home.
Then ever’thin’ just goes black. An’ I feel
even more invisible than I did in hidin’.
Fort Worth, Texas
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