Leave Her

Leave her to Africa.
Leave her to the unblue water
and the unwhite flowing water
and the brown dust and the ragged men
on carts delivering milk.

She must remain a stranger
to the tide, to the swell and spray,
the glide of slim kayaks poised to overturn.
She needs the hot brown dust
under her dark feet in summer
and the mud that sinks buses
when the rains soak the market
and the stands. You are not the dust
and you are not the drowning rains.
She needs chaotic children after school
and not the ordered rhythm of tea and discussion.

She needs the veil
you trembled to unpin, and other hands
and other tongues on her sweet back and thigh.
She does not like your jokes: she smiles
because she understands what you are doing
and what you are trying to be.
She knows you are a trespasser, a thief
of smiles, a connoisseur of hearts,
African hearts that burn with a gold
you will never possess or choke with a ring.

2 thoughts on “Leave Her

  1. As someone who makes his bread from poetry, I’ll just tell you – don’t quit your day job mack. If I had a poetry blog, I wouldn’t be publishing my thoughts on the intellectual development of Early Christianity just because I had some followers who would be certain to pat me on the back for it.

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