Tambourines ring and the drums roll, rattling my bones and
resonating within my core. I breathe in the smell of the savanna,
of grass, caked earth, lit incense. We pass around the goat's horn,
drink from the cola nut, and listen to the elephants sing.
The circle is alive with the songs of my ancestors, the flames
from the fire reaching upwards, a dragon's tongue.
The songs are fiercer than I remember from my childhood, and
how I have missed them, missed the songs my old man kept alive, and
the stories he would tell, stories none of my teachers knew.
I close his eyelids, and in our tears the tribe sings louder.
Pit! Pat!--Dark grey clouds gather to mourn with us, raindrops
falling. They slide down his skin, skin blacker than the night,
smoother than ivory, even in his perpetual slumber,
as if the spirits were cleansing him one last time. for once
I know I have done him right, laying him down in his homeland,
in the place he sacrificed 30 years ago to bring me to a world of
running water and books. I watch as he is consumed by the fire,
as his ashes scatter, but there's a sort of liberation,
a slight parting of heavy storm clouds, not here, not now,
but somewhere out on the horizon.
He is where he belongs:
in the land where the elephants sing.
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