One had to look down to the copper feet to see the tomb we now impose as a table for meals we have every night. No, no. I can go back there and let it be known for the same reason as to inquire for you, as men ask for rooms in downtown places. There is a time I concerned myself with the business of saving, more for me than for you. My hands were a machine and you found purpose for them. I wanted to know where I stood under the wife of Ptolemy III. No one has yet mentioned the underground thief, a man who took our things for the purpose of his fun. How could we blame him? After all I was coming back to Nairobi in a few weeks, where each rose stalk costs twenty shillings. I have to apologize for the obsolete distance from which I care for you, I am among the last men of the Nyayo era who love with short epithets learnt from…
It will not matter how many times we separately rehearse your going, I under a blanket of canna lily, you in a room of fruit and burnt pepper. We did not think it would be important to remember the good women who taught us high school literature. We studied Donne under different syllabi, so that makes a difference, more so in the ways we imagine your going. Reasons stay the same across time and traffic. Nowhere in religious text do we here a woman bending to fumble with a shoelace. This fact alone made me want to save you grace.
There are rivers and caves under us whose sole purpose is the transportation ofour bathwater,shame repository and grief to the Indian Ocean. It is a fact you will look up so that you can wake me up in the middle of the night for another argument. Someone in the news will say counter-insurgence. We must learn to have faith in each other’s failures. Especially after knowing there is no use for it. Remember when we read the Arabic poets, and your lips were a fragrance of those moments after the Sugar Feast? Just then we understood no one has a right to leave, this as you prepared to leave.
In the night we meet an impression of the underground thief with no black in his eyes, and we share a silence that implies he has been rehearsing this moment where he receives you into his geranium and water-plant house, he takes your hands from mine, and in as much as my hand touches his I have no leisure of describing it because this exchange involves only you. It will stay in me in life but that is no concern of yours. On the road home.All this time the underground thief has not really been stealing, he has been preparing for your arrival and inspiring me for your going. Little by little he has been taking the non-memorable parts of your body and the tears of materiality – scab from Grogan, cut hyphens, dog years, Geishas after, the unspring of your hop, hairline. Things that render you an awkward animal.I should have known that night I woke up to find all birthmarks missing from your skin.
Long after you are gone I will be thinking of the things you are thinking now.