The Oranges in Uganda

You need to have Flash Player and Javascript enabled to hear the audio.

Walking together, Death and I
are shopping for emicungwa
at night, in the market.
Each careful pyramid of fruit
is stacked on cardboard, illuminated
by candles. Death’s feet are bare
and covered with dirt
from the road.

We talk of small things.
How the mosque and the half moon
stand sentinel
against the bloody sky. That mangoes
will be in season soon.
I tell him I know why
people make love when they
come home from a funeral. Why the pull
of the body echoes the tides,
eyes wide as graves. The way the stamens
of a passion flower spin up,
defy their stem.

Thinking all the while,
fumbling with the prickly shapes of jackfruit
and their sticky sap. Yesu,
the death pulse ringing louder
than talking drums, viral in the blood.

Cloaked in barkcloth, Death
raises his ancestral spear, singing mouth full
of ulcers and steel. He has known the Tombs
of Kasubi,
Home of Kings.

The street children are out
stealing watches again.
There are no stars to behold.
Nkooye, Death says. I am tired.
He rises like a swallow
from the depth of grasses,
leaving a rip no word can cover.  end