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.
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 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.