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before the rains

Lately, the chickens hang upside-down

clucking into a suffocating wind.

Cattle mutiny on the bridges.
Rams roll through town, bound at hoof and horn like

Wild dogs run backwards through the streets, chasing little boys, tails first.

Curtains of dust hang heavy, draping leaves

and eyelids and
veiling moon from sun.
Heads sit low under trees swollen with ripe fruit.

They swarmed like bees–have you seen bees swarm

on honeycomb? They swarmed– ripping down the side of the road.
Pressing forward, closer, filling every gap with fingers

and eyes: tonight, they burned a thief.

Photo of Bamako’s 3rd bridge over the Niger River, at dusk.

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