Dana Crum

The Gods of Darfur

Around the smoldering huts of Hamada, the dead smudge brown grass: naked babies with bashed-in faces; charred schoolgirls bound together and burned alive; gelded men who bled to death, their voices, thin like wind through a cracked window, whispering to Allah.

What gods there are have killed them. But no
hyacinths sprout from their blood.

The gravest danger I face? A woman from match. Biracial with gray eyes and corkscrew curls, she drank half a cappuccino at Starbucks on Sunday and can destroy me by not returning my call.

What gods there are have killed them. And I —
I have done nothing.

I touch the thick muscle beneath my breast and feel it pumping, pumping, pumping blood to my arms, legs, head, chest.  




Some believe there is a hand that whips
the winds into hurricanes, a fist
that gives the sky the occasional black eye.
If God does exist, it can only be

that he left us and found a new and younger universe
to shoot his comets through. And if
he paid Earth a visit for old time's sake,
would anything here interest him? Would he,

wearing the stratus clouds like a wind-blown cape,
stroll across the continents
and hop over the seas? Would he
pluck palm trees from beaches and, in one blasting breath,

blow their fronds off like a child blowing seeds
off a dandelion? Maybe. But if so, his one wish would be
that his new universe has not left him
for a God with a gentler touch.

Dana Crum's fiction has appeared in Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing, The Source, Bronx Biannual, AP English Literature & Composition for Dummies, 64 Magazine, African Voices and carvezine.com. In 2003, NPR affiliate 91.5 FM WBEZ Chicago broadcast a dramatic reading of one of his stories as part of its Stories on Stage program. Crum's poetry has appeared in Writing and the anthologies Taking Root and Voices Rising, both published by DreamYard Project Press. His articles have appeared in alternet.org, The Source, 360hiphop.com (now bet.com), Black Issues Book Review, Writing, Princeton Weekly Bulletin and princeton.edu. Crum was a semifinalist for the 2001 Raymond Carver Short Story Award at the University of Washington and for the 1998 James Fellowship for the Novel-in-Progress. In 2006, he served as a judge for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.



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