Little Bird

Tell her I am a mummy, living in the depths of my desolate tomb, numb from love, astounded by beauty and terrified by darkness and emptiness. Tell her that her eyes are my conviction, her smile is my bondage and her words are music from a harp, playing smoothly close but beyond reach. Let her know that my heart niggles, my mind flops and my life is a dry pond that once had cool water running deep.



Give her my letters when you see her, take out your smart phone and record the giggles she makes as she reads. Let her read out the poems I have written for her, line by line absorbing the weight of words and the emotions of the context. If words like annihilate and stimuli confuse her in pronunciation, do not help her through, stay put as she struggles to get the right pronunciation, do not laugh, she hates that and her wrath is legendary among her tribe.



Give her my love, vast as the Ocean, wide as the Nile, long as Mugabe’s presidential term and soft as wool from sheep. Write it, draw it, paint it, sing it or narrate it, make sure you mold it just right, neither adding out or leaving behind any emotion.



Let the hundreds of miles standing between us not baffle her. Remind her that the Red Sea once stood between the Israelites and Canaan yet they still got to the Promised Land. And when she bends down in prayer, eavesdrop on her conversation with God, let me know whatever she needs and I will deliver it to her door like Jumia Shopping Mall.



Remind her of the fights we had, then maybe she will obtain a perspective about this love. Like superheroes create super villains, like the beauty of Helen, led a thousand ship to the beach of Troy, like good inspires evil and like politicians mobilize riots, death and poverty of their own countrymen so do these nasty gruesome fights propel our love.



Draw her tears when she lies on her bed in the evening after a day’s work when she gets lonely, feeling the desire for something she once had. Make sure the pencil shading does not misrepresent the tight hug she gives her teddy bear while she naps, against her bosom. Leave the room when she awakes in the morning and realizes that Teddy has no broad chest, Teddy has no deep breaths and Teddy never hugs her back like his life depends on hers. At this point, her sadness outweighs the sins of hell and the glory of heaven. Run, run while you still can.



And when she is bored, amuse her with your audience as she narrates her ordeals. She loves her stories and her stories are often to the very detail. Listen! Please make sure you do. Do not be like me, I failed to listen, I gazed at my laptop while she spoke, I walked out on her as she spoke, now I only have a distant memory of her tales. Her childhood tales in the sloppy hills of Eastern Kenya, her responsibilities in primary schools, her struggles in high school and her wildness in university.



At this point, she will inquire about me. Keep the details frail and dreary. Lie that I am doing fine, tell her twenty-two is just a few days away and it never looked so good. That I am focused, objective and got my shit in order. Girls love men like that. Tell her that, because I hope to be that soon although it is very difficult to see the stars when my eyes are always cloudy. Still, her memories are embedded in my brain like shrapnel. Love music makes me flinch like it is tinged with bitterness and regret that stings my wounds like juice from a lemon.



Then walk away, bid you goodbyes and cross the Red Sea back to me, little bird. Bring me everything you got on her. Display it before my eyes that I might see and feel love boiling in my veins and my heart throbbing with ineffable anticipation. You will not have brought her back to me but a piece will have to do just fine, at least for now.


Feature Photo: Joe Kimani.




Dennis Peters


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