Poem: I Crossed by Alamin Mazrui

This poem is of Kenyan origin.

I Crossed

Alamin Mazrui

I have crossed continents to reach Africa

But the day never came

when mountains were hills

when rivers were streams

that could be leapt over

I have not reached you my love

You are a distant star

It’s as though a wall of darkness

has risen up between us.

When I grasp you, my hands grasp nothing

but a corpse that died with no justice

as if I cradled a stone veined with my blood

in a house flooded by a storm

that stands alert through the night

and is marooned in the morning

waiting by the road.

*

The years have stretched between us: blood and fire

the bridges I tried to cross turned into walls

and you, you have sunk to the bottom of the sea

so I couldn’t touch you.

Oysters have skinned me, slicing the veins in my arms

And I call out:

You, Africa

the love of my soul

friends of maggots and darkness

I have wandered many years searching for you

and my journey has never stopped

you who have covered yourself in death your whole life.

*

I have crossed continents to reach Africa

but the day never came

when those bridges could be crossed.

You who sleep by my side

are like a distant star in the sky

a door bolted from inside

And I stand outside

I wait in the cold.

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