Baobab Blessings

Last Update: 3/5/2014 11:19 PM

By Maria Harris

Baobab blessings shower these fields.
Rows of hunched backs
Sprout dabas raised to plow.
Will rain come,
To follow the shot of dolo, a calabash of beer?
Ni ala sonna.
If God agrees.


Did you pass the night in peace?
Yes, there is peace.

The loud slap of a sack in the well.
Dawn greeted by the pounding corn.
Throw. Clap. Throw.
Deafening storms hurdled upon tin.
Screaming goats
Hoisted and thrown on rusted roof,
Suffocated beneath mounds of charcoal,
Anguished eyes rolling back in fear.

H?r? b??
Is there peace?

Kola nuts tumble from the folds of a pagne,
Scattering amongst piles of black plastic.
The stiffened swish?swish of shiny new baazan.
May you wear it for a long time.
May you be healthy while I am having it.

H?r? b??
Is there peace?
Yes. There is peace.

Henna snakes down from ankle to heel.
Weaves detail along the toe.
Wire wrapped strands piercing every direction.
Thick noire to blacken the brow.
A stain of henna rings the lips.

Is there peace here?
Owo, h?r? b?.
Yes, peace is here.

The mosque exhales
A low hum of prayer.
Ladles of sugary millet balls pour into hollowed bellies.
The fast is broken.
Allahu akbar.
God is great.

Did you pass the day in peace?

We will chat,
Seated low on humble stools.
Naked finger tips sift white hot coals
The pot bubbles and gurgles,
Choking on darkened tea leaves.
Three cups amongst strangers.
The first strong as death
The last sweet as life.  

Is there peace here?
Yes. Peace.

A soft silhouette of thatched roofs
Glow in silvery moonshine.
Nestled scorpions slither across warm brick
As heavy sighs slip under mosquito nets.
Ala k’an d?m?.
May God help us.

Is there peace here?
Ala ka h?r? k’an ye.
May we have peace.

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