Emma Broder

2010 Runner Up

July bears me up onto plains,
onto pounded, dusty roads,

where banana plants hunch with ripeness.
On the way to market in Arusha,

I feel the rhythms of chickens stowed
under seats, of jam pots, of rice and sugar.

As the car clings to the earth,
I speak to the quick warmth in a man’s face.

My words thread into a halting tune.
Safi sana, he says.

Very clean, your language.
The land answers in a moan,

and in the backseat, a child sucks an orange
like a fire, compressed.

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