After the Masterpiece


United States
27° 46' 8.2488" N, 82° 24' 17.4312" W

The cocks are crowing for you—
Wild, unwavering alarm. "They do so five times a day, at the times for prayer,"
You explained to me then. Nobody know's why.
Sitting on the wicker mat, ataaya falling from your cup to mine.
You captivated me, the artist—
Drawing the baobab in my etch book. Yet really, drawing the creases of your skin
With each age mark of bark.

The baobab separates us from the village now—
Don't make me go back. Hustle, women's kettles, and that horrible screaming
Coming from the wolof TV station—
Your voice can't harmonize with the blow of the grasses there.

And you pray, your head resting on the concrete.
All I could think about was how handsome you looked then, your muscles jutting from your boubou
And the sun, kissing each ridge of you that has been washed by holy water.
I'm going to hell.

You were wild then—in those times,
We used to escape to the dessert
Plains and the papaya fields.
Your voice would rise
As the wind gained confidence, and you, too,
Would blow without concern for the trees,
Which would only have been swayed, but would
Have, without second thought, formed a wall to stop
Your breeze.

You changed since.

You no longer speak without
Filtering the passion that
The entire world is aware of, but that you—
You keep locked inside of you like the exit strategy to your village.

But I loved you then,
And I'm not sure anymore.

Back when we were in your room,
And you gently ran your hand over mine
In the light of your LED flashlight.
And when we raced through
The Saharan hills,
And you fell to your knees, yelling,
"Baby, you win!"

I knew I had. But what is there for the artist
After her masterpiece is hung?


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