By Shaheen Sultan Dhanji - It Alone Knows
It Alone Knows
Like the patterns of a kitenge cloth, drum beats of time,
seasons close their eyelids,
softly touch her broken fragments,
and, the slashed and burn trees that once grew banana and cassava.
The wind alone enters into the tired bodies and murmurs softly.
No one interrupts its monologue.
The triumphant side of the 'Uhuru Street"
the barbed wire planted in the blood stained quarters
of the battles,
the wounded opening of --
Behind a shutter tearless eyes,
Flies dance on a six year old boy's neck,
His life-time companion is called HIV --they know each other's silence!
The gray dust speaks for the indifference of poverty.
A far away voice recites the Maghrib Azaan --
the prayer lasts until the redness of sun disappears --
Will a hungry flesh survive to see the dawn?
Where is human right to dignity
night and day?
Her dress made of a thousand alliances,
her green -red- blue fabric, her dark arteries,
her pride -
And, her stones reddened each day
by her lambency.
So that I watch her as she comes back to life,
as she attends to her living with time, with death,
with the denial of absence.
I watch her
as she invents this dream for the red earth of Africa.
This paper is our friend, it holds ever steadfast
Against the repeated stabbings
Of our pens
No one can stand
In the face of the sun
It alone knows
The way to the sunset
For Africa, the ink shall not dry.
(kitenge - African traditional cloth; Maghrib Azaan -Evening Muslim call to prayer; Uhuru - Freedom)