Poem by Isoje Chou (Nigeria/ Canada)
Published in Issue 27.
At the doorway to the ends of worlds
Old Segou lies,
written on tent women as legend has it
and under an ancient sun, the ones bought as slaves
even now as sweeps of sands shield datsun motorbikes
and wide-belly river
and desert trade men
the tongue caked with clay
skins gleamed with oils
For all the changes here, they might as well have met
Mungo Park only yesterday
When he slid past Segou giving neither advise nor
Taking none to fall into the
Moors, or speak those words to Mansong,
King of Bambara
the people of Timbuctoo sell
to the people of Jinnie
at a still higher price
Once, way south at the tip of tributaries
canoed through a riverine swamp as a child
trees so silent roots so exposed...
I mouthed the word, timbuktuuuuuuuu...
Mali, house of the wide-belly one
Start of exploration foreigners
Reality meets us both with unease
From the far reaches of salt water,
I am here.
Isoje Chou was born in Kano, Nigeria. In 2005, she completed her Master of Arts at York University. She currently lives in Canad.