The big toe itches. I am reading about the Congo, packing for a plague, and listening to three different people telling me about the poor, bitten “country” (continent) they’ve never been to. I want to tell them off, to tell them otherwise but I am feverish dengue with thick, tainted honey. I don’t know much. I don’t know anything, really, so the next seven weeks will be mzungu! and dancing and nodding sans understanding. Yes, to men and no, to equal rights, I wonder if they wonder if they ever smite a lover. Yes and no and yes and no. It’s been winter most of this spring and now it’s time to go back.
Tutaonana, Nairobi. I am ready to be your student.
and so the idea sinks in, like all ideas do, that something is off and maybe i need to shift the levers a bit. try it this way, her voice rings in my mind. i remember the first time she bit into a piece of chocolate in front of me—like a mouse, i had laughed—we both had laughed—it was the smallest thing i could remember, like the shadows of a tree under a cliff’s darkness.
(and when we shifted, we shifted like the moon and the stars; her face was always hidden from view but she shone with a light that was never hers.)
if i could love you with wet
flowers and sloppy bouquets
a hitchhiker’s hard faith
flashy meta poetry
with lines that reel in strange
men &stranger mornings
sex on top of someone
else’s backyard stars,
you’d be in trouble.
sell it to the crack addicts;
let them crane their necks
as if the accident on highway five
was their withdrawal
that just passed them by
you’re still your own self-portrait
without a seat belt.