Dark Soul ~ Ghozye Nelson

I don’t know why

But disaster makes me laugh,

And I smile at the tears of others sometimes.

I wonder if that makes me a villain,

Or just another crazy spirit waiting to terrorise the universe.


I swear I don’t mean any harm

And I wouldn’t do anything to hurt a soul,

But I just can’t help it.


I couldn’t help it when my lips broke into a grin

At the news of her demise,

And I couldn’t stop the cackle that forced itself out of my throat

When I saw the images from the aftermath of the war.


I  wonder,

Does it mean that I live vicariously through those who inflict pain on others?

Wouldn’t that make me as good as them?

Or better put, as evil as them?


My mother says I am possessed by an evil spirit

So she took me to a witch doctor

Akirika invoked ‘good spirits’ and put me in a dark room for days

After some sacrifices, he let me go on the seventh day,

Certain that I had been cleansed.


I can’t understand why they think I am a wicked soul

Because I know,

I know that after the laughter dies down

And after the grin fades away

I cry.


I cry for the father who lost his baby girl

To the stray gunshot during the riot,

And I cry for the mother whose son

Was wrongly accused and executed

Before the truth came out.


I wish my mother would see this part of me,

But somehow it never shows up when she is there.

So maybe, just maybe

I will forever be seen

As the girl with the dark soul,

Even though in the deepest part of my heart

I want to see the world be as safe as it could ever be.


Ghozye Nelson is an economist, a writer, and a lover of African cultures.

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