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Every day was a holiday when uncle went hunting
With his three foot native cutlass
Its handle tied around with a bicycle inner tube
He went out at six am and came back at six pm
Wearing dead meat cloaked all over his body
Some, hanging around his neck like a crucifix

He never worried about the blood
That streamed down his body like water from the hills
His colleagues thought of him as having a spirit
Or that he was in love with the Queen of the Forest
A notoriously successful hunter
I really don’t know why he stopped hunting

Anytime I see a sedimentary fire stone sitting lonely
It reminds me of the first big fresh grass-cutter I cooked for myself
‘This stone is stubborn; steady yourself or I’ll change you,’ I’d say
Keeping myself safe from boiling substances
Was my first childhood lesson, as I enjoyed myself
Watching the meat dancing in the flaming pot

I always kept the kitchen door closed
For the aroma not to bring me visitors
Hungry dogs looking blood-thirsty as desert soldiers.
Except for Robin, our dog, who loved to swing his tail
Eeeeh! Eeeeh! He whined, sniffing and licking his body
While he watched me cooking. Very happy he looked

All the souls under this palm frond roof were healthy then
Now they are like dry leaves that can fly away on any breeze
Faces long and narrow as village roads
Eyes like frogs, bones from their bodies peeping
Before our heads get big and rough
I hope uncle starts hunting again

Ibrahim Sorie Bangura, aka Cleffy, is a Sierra Leonean poet and musician. Born in 1992, in a subsistence farming village; he migrated to the capital Freetown in 2011 to escape rural poverty, surviving on the streets for several years before joining WAYout Arts for Youth. In 2017 Cleffy was short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers Adda Poetry commission. His work has appeared in Written Off: poems and stories from the streets of Sierra Leone (2018) and in online literary magazines; Praxis Magazine Online, Write the City, Writers Space Africa and Better than Starbucks. He recently completed a poetry project supported by the Prince Claus Fund.

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