I CROSSED by ALI AL’AMIN MAZRUI

February 27, 2021

I Crossed

I have crossed continents to reach Africa
But the day never came
          when mountains were hills
          when rivers were streams
          that could be leapt over
I have not reached you my love
You are a distant star
It’s as though a wall of darkness
          has risen up between us.
When I grasp you, my hands grasp nothing
but a corpse that died with no justice
          as if I cradled a stone veined with my blood
          in a house flooded by a storm
          that stands alert through the night
          and is marooned in the morning
                                                    waiting by the road.

The years have stretched between us: blood and fire
the bridges I tried to cross turned into walls
and you, you have sunk to the bottom of the sea
                                                    so I couldn’t touch you.
Oysters have skinned me, slicing the veins in my arms
And I call out:
                   You, Africa
                   the love of my soul
                   friend of maggots and darkness
                   I have wandered many years searching for you
                   and my journey has never stopped
                   you who have covered yourself in death your whole life

I have crossed continents to reach Africa
but the day never came
when those bridges could be crossed.
You who sleep by my side
are like a distant star in the sky
a door bolted from inside
And I stand outside
                           I wait in the cold.

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