In some parts of Africa
children are sold indiscriminately.
Slavery is still common, and parents,
with little else to sell
aside from these products of their reproductive organs
may hesitate, but are not wont
to refuse a good deal:
one that will keep them in food
for as long as a year. Girls, especially,
are mostly unfortunate; more often than not
end up as prostitutes, the jetsam
of a society not well known for its civility.
Nor for the longevity of its constituents.
And boys, if they survive, if they are not utilized
as soldiers, as the cannon fodder of the internecine conflict
with which the continent is now so rife, are indentured
as farm laborers: pickers, pullers, crawlers.
Eventually they run off, perhaps
even find their way, in this dog
eat dog world, where a large brain
counts for little more
than how well it works an arm or a leg.
A few of the boys, however, get shunted
to the horse farms,
and a small percentage of these
get to be utilized as jockeys.
And while still slaves
they are coddled for their skills.
And some small percentage of these,
wise in the ways of the street,
saved their pennies, and bought
freedom for the price of a contract.
One best known, Naguum Biendi,
shows his gold teeth when he smiles.
He is rich, and generous.
He drinks his coffee black, as is proper;
And now he has slaves of his own.