How deeply one premolar can bite
how loudly it can speak
in the emotions it rouses up
in the whirlpools of anger
that have hung in Congo winds
since nineteen sixty-one

“We have the tooth back!”
and all the words that whistled past it
when it was still in his mouth
we have echoes of his revolution
undecayed layers of courage

Everything else has been lost
to the acid of time
not just his body
not just the freewill
of a newly independent state

Count hope in there
count journeys disrupted
count everything that burns
exposed to new forms of acid

The coffin seems empty
but we’re not really burying a tooth
this was a giant,
this box is in reality too small

If six decades after our birth
we are still fighting for our teeth
for little bits of sanity
when will whole bodies emerge?



Welcome home to Patrice Lumumba’s tooth.

POEM: Copyright © Iz Mazano
PHOTO: Wikipedia, Creative Commons


June 20, 2022DW News
“Belgium is returning the remains of the icon of Congo’s anti-colonial movement to his family. A single tooth is all that is believed to remain of Patrice Lumumba, after his assassination in 1961. An official ceremony to hand back the tooth is being held in Brussels.”

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