Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)
TITLE: It's Me Again, God
By Ruth Neilson
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Can't You see that I'm afraid?
The soldiers come nightly, looking to turn me into a man.
They say that I'm old enough to be a soldier.
To carry a gun, to fight, to kill—and not just a game.
I'm barely twelve, God.
I don't want to kill, to fight
Unless it's a wrestling match.
But maybe it'll protect my siblings from the war.
It's John again, God...
I hate to bother you,
But I need Your ear again.
They say that I'm the man of the house now,
But I'm barely fifteen.
I haven't even finished school yet.
How can I take care of my brothers and sisters?
I don't have a job,
And, it's hard to be brother, mother, and father all at once.
It's Michael again, God...
Can You hear my whispered prayers?
I'm alone and scared of the animals in the brush...
I'm the oldest leading a group of young boys.
We're orphans, lost in the African wilderness.
Soldiers are everywhere.
How can I protect my new brothers?
I only have what I carried with me to tend to the flock.
Can I protect this one?
It's Dikeledi again, God...
I just want to know,
Do You really listen to my prayers?
I'm battered and bruised.
They say I'm married now—
To a man who is thrice my age.
He strikes me daily
Stealing from me what was mine to give
And all that I can do is let him.
It's us again, God.
Please hear our prayers.
Forced into adulthood
Long before we were ready
But for now, we must survive...
But it would be nice,
To be grown-up without
Fighting, dying, or crying.
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