Elmina to Kumasi

By Larry H. Spruill

African returnees speeding
from Accra to a Kumasi hotel
traversing but not touching
the lives of the Asante people
who one by one
whizzzz by the broad windows
of the sanitized, flyless
air conditioned bus
wrapping around the narrow road
hugging the center line
stretching east to west
adobe huts crowded by
banana and lime trees
interspersed with
rusted corrugated sheet metal roofs
in towns and villages stringed together
by sporadic power lines
darting down from timber poles
to cinder block houses
carrying quiet fire
for lights, radios
and primitive appliances

The burned out African sun
peeks through a hazy sky
signaling the end and beginning
of the daily dance
with life and death.

Everyone and thing is headed home
most on foot
racing with darkness
Virile boys herd goats and cows
alongside the road
making their way
to the certainty of home
and familiar pots of peppered food.

This day is closing its door
The owls and bats scream
dusk toned farewells
to the daily light
four girls briskly walking along the road
where the blacktop ends and the red clay begins
toting water to mama like breathing regularly
making ready the nights journey
through the purple night
step by step
deepening the familiar foot path
engraved by eons of ancestors
a foreboding sameness
like a scratched lp/cd
going round and round
with no one to push pause
and try another track
Decades of days and nights
weeks and months of
sunrise and sunset
and waiting for the
soft sunrise of monotonous routines
along the road in Asanteland

Sprouts of satellite eyes and ears
stirring hopes for forks in the road
digital visions and sound bytes
possibilities of newness
electronic promises
cyberspace openings
chances to break free
to taste the sweet
mango nectar of
modern life.

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