And it was not the countless corpses flowing downstream
in muddy water.

 'Man of the Forest' by Denise Monaghan /

'Man of the Forest' by Denise Monaghan /

It wasn't even the petrified
bodies at the museum.

It was the young one,
Mweza, who having been caught in
and rescued from the poacher’s trap,
was lost on the drunk tyrant
you were enslaved to. 

Mweza would teach you what it means to be shattered by love
as if, this, her only reason for being in the world.

Mweza’s sole offering bestowed upon you

in the feeling of what it is
to watch a vulnerable delight die
while thinking

you could have kept her alive
had you been fearless as she


note: 'Mweza' was originally shared in an Extinction Witness post September 2015 along with paintings by Denise Monaghan during a month's witness with primates that considered the roots of violent competition, referencing Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by Douglas Emlen. Mweza, loosely translated ‘can do’, is a young mountain gorilla rescued by Bill Weber and Amy Vedder, and Dian Fossey. The poem is informed by memory of a film documenting the 1994 slaughter of nearly one million Tutsi men, women and children in Rwanda and a reflection on that genocide along with the story of Mweza’s death authored by Bill and Amy (In the Kingdom of Gorillas, 2001). By Bill and Amy’s account, Mweza could have recovered from a festering wound had Dian facilitated proper treatment. 

*'Mweza' continues posting poems written as part of the 2014 - 2015 monthly revolving witness at Extinction Witness while I'm editing a six-year collection. 'Man of the Forest' by Denise Monaghan - / shared with artist's permission. 

New daily poems resume once the collection goes to the publisher.