Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Poetry for the People

I went with Mum to the backyard. We prepared eba and stew for everyone. When we got back to the room the photographer was fast asleep on the floor. We woke him up and he carried on with a conversation whose beginning eluded us. He ate with us, declined any more drinks, thanked and prayed for us and, wobbling at the door, he made a statement which touched us.

"You are my favourite family in the compound," he said.

Then he staggered out into the night. Me and Dad walked him to his door. Dad shook hands with him and we came back. Dad was silent, but he looked proud and tall and he didn't stoop under the memory of all those weights. When we passed the burnt van Dad paused and studied its form in the darkness. Then he touched me on the head, urging me on...

~Ben Okri, The Famished Road

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