No metaphor in Obudu

Condensed from warm shadows,
She appeared with silent ox-eyes, yellowed;
Her feverish infant sweating,
Head pressed on flaccid breast.
I bid her sit; and so we sat
Side by side on a wooden bench
In the warm evening shadows.

Slowly, she undid the drape
That held the babe against her breast,
Pulled off the woolen cap;
His curls matted with feverish brine.
He had his mother’s eyes,
Yellow to the core.
Shallow pants of airy puffs
Stroked his jaundiced palate.

In this last hour of this last day
I begged a course of drugs,
Slipped the packet of pills
Into the mother’s moist palm.
When we boarded the bus, I wondered
Which would run out first—
The ten-day supply of medication or
The tiny racing heart?

In vain I searched my mind
For metaphors, just one;
But none crystallized in the grey
Matter of my cerebrum,
None sprung forth as Athena
From the tightness in my chest.

2012©Brian T. Maurer


One comment on “No metaphor in Obudu

  1. --dave says:

    A heartrending account, sensitively told with power, pathos, poignancy, and close collaboration with the Muse.

    Thanks ever again for doing the work that so few of us can even imagine, and reporting on it with such caring graceful acuity.

    Thanks too for spending your vacation not at a beach or the mountains but instead in Obudu.

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