The Women of Darfur
A Formerly Homeless American Woman Now Asks God for a Job
And Thinks about What Those Prayers Mean
When you pray, do you think of the women of Darfur?
Urgent, whispered, oh so concentrated,
you petition the deity for a job, or a parking space, or a negative biopsy result.
In Darfur, horsemen come, kill all the men, rape all the women, and raze the village.
Even the exotic trees, whose spit makes world politics, and coca-cola, are hacked to the ground.
Journalists' dispatches find the fifth page of the paper but the world does not intervene.
Do you think, "God, yes, give me this job, this parking space, and rescue one Darfur woman"?
Do you think, "God, if I wait ten more minutes for a parking space, if I just go back to cleaning houses,
can we make it ten Darfur women?"
Do you realize that you are not hungry?
That you are not so cold that cold is all you register,
a presence hovering just beyond the stance of each word in your sentence,
a vulture, ready, when you fumble just once,
to swoop in and carry off your ability to form a complete thought?
Do you realize that you are not so hot that you can't have any thoughts
Do you realize that you are not so tired that anything could have you any time it wanted,
any stray microbe, or mugger, or rapist, or wind
could take your lungs, your bowels, your eyes, your purse, your bipedal verticality,
and you could not resist?
Because that's what it could be. Your life. Your life could be islands of consciousness trapped in a matrix of sensations you devote everything to escaping.
Do you realize how lucky you are to wear shoes?
Do you ever just say "Thank you," "Enough about me," "Let's just concentrate on those women in Darfur"?
When you buy a lottery ticket, when you obsess on how much easier Tom Cruise has it,
when you pray, do you think of the women of Darfur?
© Danusha V. Goska