mzungu


People chew sugarcane
in the afternoon sun,
cook over open fire,
pump water from deep
wells and balance great
sacks of rice, beans and
maize meal atop their
heads. They carry feathered
hens home for dinner, peel
potatoes along the roadside
and ride slowly on bicycles
rushing nowhere.

They cry mzungu
as I pass. Young ones
come running, covered
in red dust and tattered
clothes, dusty party dresses
and old shoes. We are all
the same, mzungu,
walking these streets
how can there be a
difference? How
can they know, I
know, where it lies?
We are all the same,
mzungu, you and me, but
I will never sleep
in Mtandire or Chinsapo.
I will go home and you
will not visit me there.

You will not
photograph my sad
 eyes or wide smile,
my small house,
my home.




*mzungu is a word used across Africa meaning "white person" 

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