Along the river Nile, I met the Flame Tree
its long limbs stretching to the sky
the blue hues along with clouds
became the canvas for its drawing
Its red-hot flames poked out from the greens
yellow flicker of burning sunshine
telling me that fire burns otherwise
soft petals glowing with color
That September we both left Eritrea
Seventeen hours later you were here
I was shot at on the border
Was sold, bought and resold
The map of that trip is scored on my back
Do you want to see? No I didn’t think you would
My best friend was maimed
The other one died in a cell
V. Honor your appointed officials, that your days may be peaceful in the land.
VI. You shall not murder. Aim shots below the knee.
VII. You shall not commit adultery. Lest you compete with your colonels and officials.
VIII. You shall not steal. The land and its fruits are consecrated to government.
IX. You shall not bear false witness. Why prolong your torture.
I send my angels to comfort Aster and my prayers for her freedom. I wear a bracelet that I made in her honor. As I take it off at night, and put it back on each morning, I send her my love. I know that one day we will again sit together on a beautiful outdoor patio and share our hearts over a cup of coffee. And when we get to the third round, the blessing round, we will pause and be grateful for the blessing of true friendship.
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