Out of Africa

Karen I think of you

pretending I know what your face looks like

ashen and sun-lit that day his plane

did not reach its destination

you knew

in that instinctive way

the weigh and measure of

incalculable things

felt twisted in our gut

like a wrung towel

retaining pressure

he was a man of air and Africa

the painted land

reaching like a hennaed bride

across plain and prairie

you can smell freedom

where we all began

born of clay and rain

growing to the rhythm of

dovetail butterflies gathering

their meal of date palm and black mangrove

yellowwood and senegalia groves leading

the mosaic paths of animals

honey bees and cicadas

drone air with song of nectar and molting

impala with their great dipped ink horns

slender heat parched bodies eyeing crest

for hyena or aardwolf staring predator

while sable antelope merge

their burgundy brown into

baked fecund earth

staring at skies for sign of rain

as you

look upward

seeing in your minds eye

his falling plane

imagine in urgent moment

greatest pain

all the years ahead you will

be without him

is death, you wonder

more merciful than life?

capturing the heart

at its perfect balance

where like a flower

you can stoop to preserve

its potency

no mind

it is the prayer of days ahead

rigid and unmoving in their sorrow

where you hold your face expressionless

howling in your mirror when all have left

and the monkey chatter

the smell of him everywhere

talking ghosts of touch, reaching, reaching out

you pretend, you submerge in that

twilight of denial and mad hope

staying long after death, the last visitor to leave

the funeral

23 thoughts on “Out of Africa

  1. I love the language used here, the tone and rhythm too:

    “howling in your mirror when all have left
    and the monkey chatter
    the smell of him everywhere
    talking ghosts of touch, reaching, reaching out
    you pretend, you submerge in that
    twilight of denial and mad hope
    staying long after death, the last visitor to leave
    the funeral”

  2. Beautifully encapsulated, and yes I do sometimes wonder…..
    “all the years ahead you will
    be without him
    is death, you wonder
    more merciful than life?”

  3. One of my favourite movies and I so identify with the Robert Redford character as Karen tries to lay her claims upon his soul and its need for absence, freedom and flight. This is a wonderful imaging of her journey from inside the heart of your own heart. The movie must have really resonated for you. The ending undoes me ever single time ❤

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