She was tied to a tree
while gangs of men raped her over
and over for many weeks.
After her first surgery
they continued with their raping,
forcing her to give birth
in front of them, with guns.
the baby died or they
would have raped and murdered
that new life too.
Small and dark, young Jeanne
struggles to the stage and speaks
with the loud voice, laser focus
and fury of pure Virtue.
My mouth is hers roaring from Bukavuto, Sonoma,
every continent on Earth: Are you tired yet
of your domineering pornographing predatory
lusting after the power
of demons? Are you satisfied yet—
ugly, cruel, stupid, useless,
not even human?
You stole the sacred body
of a human being and you desecrate it
every time you dishonor
“Jeanne of the Congo,” Janine Canan’s powerful poem about women and world-wide rape culture, will appear in her forthcoming book Consciousness.