Artwork © Margaret Nolan:   http://www.margaretnolan.co.uk/

Artwork © Margaret Nolan: http://www.margaretnolan.co.uk/

In the theater of the former capital, dancers and musicians swept bullets and pieces of rotten wood off the stage. Their costumes fluttered, rags in the updraft. Rigged lights flickered, intermittent bird calls, then steadied. On the night of the performance, the audience breathed like a single, taut animal. From the curtain’s rise a wail seeped from every one of our throats, the slow procession of tears from eye to chin to lap. The dancers raised their arms. The drummers drummed. Wind and string instruments winged through bullet holes and hunger. When we all finally swallowed the last note, the theater was a salty lake. Folding chairs became boats on which the audience floated out into the night, our bodies strangely light: mirrors to the stars stabbed in the cloudless sky.