Inside the hospital compound were several low buildings. In the center stood a French colonial house, probably the administration building. On its front “lawn,” dead girls in blood and mud-splattered uniforms lay like folding chairs waiting to be taken inside. Someone had carefully crossed their hands over their chests and closed their eyes. They lay according to age, oldest first, about twelve, ending with the youngest, about five. At the feet of each corpse was a cardboard square with a letter and number inked on it, Row A, corpse 1, Row A, corpse 2, like airport parking lots.
Helene stood facing the rows like someone in front of a firing squad. Her face said, “Shoot.” She started walking between the rows. Sally caught up with her and linked their arms. They walked slowly, deliberately, examining each child like judges at a flower show. In the middle of Row D, Helene dropped to her knees with a shrill wail and buried her face in the stomach of her dead daughter, shaking herself and the corpse with silent sobs.
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Dr. Sally’s Voodoo Man:
“…bold explanation of a woman adrift in Africa, caught in the turmoil of her own defeated past and in the possibilities offered by her current swirls of chaos. It’s a compelling story, told with authority and grace.”