Image by Melanie van de Sande from Pixabay

ALI

How a solid tower you are, Ali
To nonplus a bunch of giraffes
Thinking that you belong to their heard
When they see you prancing from a distance
Toward their direction

You are a reflection of a true knight
A village champion, a warrior who rides a flying python
An avid hunter, making the ancestors proud

Ali,
I like that ruddy face of yours
And the grace of your measured steps
That move with steadfast grace and confidence

That stylish long goatee of yours
And the brainwashing private smile
Is another splendid marvel son-of-cobbler

When you are talking
I like your protruding rotten teeth
In front of your dark, plump cracked lips

Ali,
The waver of your baritone voice
Send mazes of peace and tranquility
Into my soul
And melts the icebergs
Of long-nurtured heartbreak

Ali,
You the tomtom beater, the grave digger, the chief’s right-hand man
The dancer, the wrestler, the poet
The versatile creature
How you cock your eyebrows with furrowed concentration
How you frown, oftentimes and often quizzical
Throws me into a quandary

Ali,
The perfect lines on your forehead
Woven with the passage of daily cumbersome hassles
Make you deserve a virtuous damsel

Ali,
As if not enough
You could have known how I have fallen in love
With the ripple of your veiny slender arms and calves
When you are vigorously pushing the wheelbarrow up the terrain
Filled to the brim with cow dung
How you shoulder a big log of wood
Like a protagonist in a quest to free the captives
Rivulets of sweat cascading down
The bays and lagoons of your body at that time
You have endured, my village champion

So don’t be afraid, Ali
Pull me closer
With those soft, fiery-red intelligent eyes of yours brooding radiantly
I will encircle my fragile hands on your waist
To feel the comfort of your warmth
Worry less about your thick, harsh odour
Emanating on your mud-smelling skin
Due to days on end without detergents

Ali,
Come, hold my hand and follow me
My father wants to shower a glance on you
He owns an abandoned farmhouse
A fleet of oxen, silos, donkeys, fishing canoes
I hope he will like you

Ali,
Am tired of these well groomed Cassanovas
And I know how you have been rejected and scorned
Ridiculed by these good-for-nothing town divas
So I don’t want you to disappointed anymore
I will not allow you to be thrown into a bin of sorrow
I am a daughter of authority
And you are an enduring rock existing under water without complaining
A sleeping giant that inwardly sparkles with
Cascading flamboyance of a million stars


Justice Masangano: Malawian writer. Studied journalism. Published in the local newspapers of the country since 2003. Won poetry radio contest in 2015.

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