A Flake of Rain - L. S. Mensah

I shook off a rain-flake that dropped
On my brow, sliced it clean with a hatchet.
First it sweated a draining silence.
Then I heard a gurgle, or was it a gargle?

It was the sap rising; waking, taking leave of sleep.
It was an asthmatic cloud, out of which coughed
Ancestral dust and ancestral presences.

And I saw the ghosts of my ancestors
Parade by, as if in procession
Their eyes hollowed out
The way a carver of masks
Hollows his wood.

And from those barren eye-holes
They seemed to ask:

Child of Afrikania
What did you do with the treasures we bequeathed?

I asked them what treasures,
But they melted into the sun-dew
As the rain-flake evaporated.
And in the still gargling, gurgling silence
I knew the rain-flake had died
Of a broken heart
For ancestral wishes unfulfilled,
Unfulfilled by me.
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