One of the functions of poetry is to make art. Another is to make activism. Still another is to make comment. This poem, from Melanie Rosin, does all three.
Assignment on the African Diamond Mines
My boss instructed me to capture
the inhumanity happening on the other side
of the world in 450 to 500 words,
but I can’t seem to put my fingers to my keyboard
and find a way to explain
the distant gravity of diamonds mined in war zones,
the financing of insurgencies
in so few words.
I imagine a ten-year-old boy
sitting in the scolding sand,
holding a small rock covered in dust.
I imagine a warlord firing a shot into the charcoal sky,
snatching the treasure from the boy’s palm,
demanding that he move on to the next search,
leaving large footprints in the ground as he walks away.
And I imagine blood staining
the red sand drifting through the boy’s fingers,
wondering if diamonds aren’t the only thing
that lasts forever.
Melanie Rosin, a Houston native, is currently a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. Her collection of poems, Four Feet from the Surface (Neo Literati Press), was published in 2011 and can be found on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. She plans on returning to Houston upon graduating law school this upcoming December.