There is so much I did not know.
For every sapling of silver birch, flowering cherry,
elder, chaste tree and mountain ash—
trees of a darker timber: red stinkwood,
yellow wood, Mukui and Meru oak; mahogany,
Flame kurrajong and cigar cassia.
At the kitchen table over tea and cookies,
my friend visiting from Kenya tells me
of local witchcraft and sorcery.
In the coastal towns of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale
and Malindi, a number of fishermen will weave
the hair from albinos into their fishing nets,
believing their golden glimmer will bring
a bigger catch. All the children with bodies
the sun has dusted with its chalk
have gone into hiding, all the men
and women. Their legs and arms are
amulets, their fingers and ears, genitals.
Backlit by the sun, a hoarfrosted forest
glitters with captured ice. I read
news stories of miners
who quarter the limbs of the kidnapped
and bury them like magic stones
to make gold grow.
The crow flies over trails, following
a running stitch of red.