“District Officer” (Ajele)

 

by Dipo Kalejaiye

 

The hammock swings

To my heart's rhythm

Sweat drips

From my forehead

Morning dew

Washes my face

Crackling twigs

Beneath my feet

Then I hear

The poly-rhythm

Punctuating

The chattering

Of monkeys

The sun is playing

Hide and seek

With the clouds

A crackle of thunder

In the firmament

Rabbits scurry

Into hiding

I look up to see

The lazy smoke

From his British pipe

Rising gently

The village is not in sight

Only the throbbing drums

Resonate the message

That the District Officer

Is on my head

I am slow

You too will be a snail

After twenty seven miles

Bare footed

Dripping sweat

No food

Mosquitoes snacking

On your blood

And thorny bushes

Caressing your skin!

 

Now the monkeys are laughing

I am pelted with banana peels

The trek continues

An owl in its wisdom

Turns to look

At the unfolding sight

Hoots in anger

And disappears

When it hears:

"Native, how far away is the village?"

 

At the river

Crocodiles long starving

Raise their rocky heads

The hammock trembles

I kill an annoying mosquito

To silence its buzz

Then I torpedo the hammock

And run for miles

Wrecking anthills

To take cover

Behind a Mahogany tree

For one's eyes not to see evil

The legs are the remedy.