The Dictator's Death: Nigeria, 1998
            for Niyi Osundare
    Cynthia Hogue
When light cast in the June dry
season caught the man's eye as if
the eyes of those he had maimed—
those objets sauvages—who survived;
when he secreted himself from their ken
and the silent streets grew uncanny
in their emptiness, the houses dark, still
as if raided, their owners summarily shot;
when he was driven by an urge to eat ashes
down to the bare-bones-of-it-all, and his hands
harboring such terror opened
palms to sky and gave over
to the senselessness of self-
defined structures of dominance;
when nothing immolated memory
oh-so-forcibly bled, he rested,
uncontented, a peace risen
despite him, less illusory,
more eternal than anything
else he’d wrought.

Cynthia Hogue has published three collections of poetry, most recently The Never Wife (Mammoth P, 1999), and has co-edited an anthology of essays on women’s avant-garde writing, We Who Love To Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics (U of AL P, forthcoming 2001). Her new poetry collection is entitled Flux (New Issues P, forthcoming 2002). She currently lives in Pennsylvania, where she directs the Stadler Center for Poetry and teaches English at Bucknell University

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