The dog's tongue dragged in the dirt
'We had a tiny puppy, and he followed behind us. He was panting, trying to keep up so much that his little tongue dragged in the sand.'
- from Throwing Stones at the Moon: Narratives from Colombians displaced by violence, a Voice of Witness book.
They come in blue uniforms like the police
around the time of the street shootings.
They ask for water but I am so scared,
I cannot stand.
This time, they pass through, which is no relief.
They will return and there will be looting
if we leave. If we're prepared
to stay - the end,
and not just so to speak.
Whether on one side or another,
they will rape or kill or both.
Hard to understand
when you come from a place of peace
where there is time to take a lover
and it is safe to sleep. Truth
is a stranger with contraband.
Our family is broken. The children cry
and suffer from what you call stress.
Soon, we will lose our fear and be ready to die.
You are not responsible for our backward progress.
For us, this is simply the wrong release.
We leave in the morning through lack of belief.
The woodcut specially made to illustrate this poem is by Ignacia Ruiz, a Chilean born, London based illustrator who has exhibited her prints both in the UK and abroad. She currently teaches at Central Saint Martins, London, and her website is http://www.ignaciaruiz.com/
Alan Dunnett is a poet, active union member and former theatre director who now works at Central Saint Martins, London. His poems have appeared in magazines and ezines including Dead Ink, The Recusant, Militant Thistles and Communist Review.