Abeeku stole a bright, gold watch from
the busy shop in the market.
saw him slip the watch into his waistband -
chased him, yelling and gesturing,
The crowd caught up -
in the middle of the street.
They beat him,
someone slipped an old tire around him,
and another and another helped
pull the tire over his arms
pinning them to his side.
The shopkeeper picked up the watch
its crystal broken and its case scratched and split.
He put it on his wrist and
joined the chant, “Thief, thief.”
A boy pressed through the throng
with a tin of petrol,
pouring it over Abeeku’s head.
Another shadow offered matches
and Abeeku was covered in flame.
He was burned alive
while the African sky
in red and yellow light.
[2nd rev., 7 Feb. 2010 ]