They came in the night

raped his sister

killed his parents

burned his house.

Roped together with the other children

he was forced to march into the bush

while his village went up in flames.

They said he was a rebel now

a soldier.

One of them.


The first day: beaten

his shoulders wrenched back until they touch.

Blood everywhere.

The second day: forced to wear the intestines

and carry the head

of his friend.

He must wear and carry his friend for two days

or they'll beat him again

worse than before.

He must slaughter people

or he won't be fed.


Out of necessity

he becomes what he once hated.

One of them.

Now he shoots people

burns their houses

and abducts their children.

Just like they did to him.


He shoots some villagers in a dried up well

a pre-dug grave.

Before he fires

a wrinkled graying man looks at him

"You don't have to live like this."

He pulls the trigger.


The words echo in his skull

You don't have to live like this.

You don't have to live like this.

You don't have to live like this.

Why does he do this?

Because they made him.

Why did they do this?

Because soldiers before them made them.

Why did this start?

Over a few diamonds long ground up into dust.

They aren't his diamonds.

They'll never be his diamonds.

He strips off the uniform

throws away the gun

and walks out of the bush