at makola - Rob Taylor

- for Millicent, upon the street clearing of Accra, February 2007.

at makola women earn pennies porting twice their weight on their heads, their thin sandals sliding just over the thick concrete cloth draped and folded delicately atop the panting earth. at makola smallboys clip toenails and dig knives into the fleshy corners, scrape out filings of dirt and blow them off their glinting blades then open their palms meekly to the shadows. at makola old men sell tabloids on rape, incest, priests and politicians for fifty cents a pop, old women sell live crayfish and crabs in metal bowls, keep them at bay with long wooden sticks. at makola children in uniforms move briskly through corridors, hold books tight against their chests as they wind their way home. at makola the invisible rich extend hands out lowered tinted windows to buy bread and rice from bruised, scrambling saleswomen. at makola the streets are shut down every saturday for funerals to men who died months earlier and the market whirls in red and black kente, mourners dancing slowly, hawkers behind them sweating over crates of beer and minerals. at makola half the stalls are built illegally and many of the market women are smuggled in from war zones. at makola people talk of business, football, america – people yell and shake. at makola vendors are starting to complain, the police are getting anxious – someone is going to die, though there may not be bullets or blood. at makola the shops will close and reopen, will be torn down and rebuilt – lives will be buried and excavated. at makola the earth will again shed its clothes, lay itself down amongst the swirling throng, disappear, and wait to be remembered.
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