|Improvisation 6 (African)|
Wassily Kandinsky (1909)
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A woman comes to the village
where a child squats in the dust
and says, “I hunger.”
The boy is silent, cut from stone,
eyes hidden behind his fingers
not more than a figment of earth with shaven skull.
A body as sinewy as drought
bird thin bones, and large, old hands
cradling a calabash
and a boy raising his face to the sky
“Will you sing to me?”
Two ancient men sit hunched,
backs to a slab of ochre.
Their story is written
in shades of sand and blood
but they shun conversation, shrug off flies,
like corrugated iron windows.
Who has not known the loneliness
of a single candle,
a stray dog, one chicken
on the wrong side of the fence?
You shoulder the baggage of sleepless nights,
look to the end of the road
beyond this peeling door, this hiatus,
and all the while the talking drums
are calling someone else’s name.