Some eyes provide their own spark in the dark, and
with brilliance recognize what would otherwise lay
unexpressed, and like all things,
fall apart in time to relish nothingness.
If that spark means no harm, it’s hard to tell,
So I listen and eye the fancy wrapper she wears today
to sell and rasp tales that could ignite the already hot air.
Is she trying to making out the tears in my dress?
Does she see through it something scorched and bound;
something showing a weakness for the red dirt
rich folks nowadays tile over?
Ah, what do I care?
To her a smile. She will hear, bah-oh! Not:
Quick be gone, and gone farther, even, than
the distances once hoofed to escape drought.
But I have said it.
All these years peddling and bending over
yams, bananas and potatoes;
All this time coloured ugly, like Zuma rock,
by one who also holds and swells the crops,
And still, I reap no answers, just these
endless shows of other people’s pretty clothes.
For what is it all repeating?
I am always too far to overlook the ocean,
though I suffer mouths that bob just the same.
Clear in my mind is the taste of sugarcane juice
made to pass for water. No more imitations.
From that broad mouth I gather her purpose
and it is not to quench with omi, but to burn,
burn me like cane husks would burn, with misery.
Seat her far off. Or let her sell out.
Let me be done with sacrifice.
I need only quiet if I can’t feel the rain on the wind, or seat
my home above the sea, where the Niger and Volta meet.