Reminiscences

Ethiopia Before

On the road of forty years a donkey

cries, lamenting his load of

eucalyptus leaves for the cooking

fires of Addis, and in the not-yet light, slumps

and dies.  Even so, he’s whipped by

an Oromo, whose wife has just

stillborn their eighth child.

Rise with me now,  from the dust

on the road to see herds and

huts and then one house, where, safe

behind walls set with broken glass, a ferengi

yawns and longs for his thesis on Yeats.

At night the stars hang closer than

his ceiling at home.  They do it

With altitudes, he says, and forgets.

But eucalyptus ghosts will

waft along his road, riding death

tanks past the donkey.

— Benjamin H. Thomas (Addis 62–64)

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