Poetry

Bus to Nairobi

It is simply not possible
To be this excited
Sitting on an idling bus
In a hot noon city
In a crowded station
Waiting for the aisle to fill
So far beyond the bus’s seating capacity
That people no longer can be squeezed inside
Yet here you are
Taking out your
Laptop computer
Worth a year’s salary for most Tanzanians
To capture the drama
Of the last slightly drunk hopeful
           being thrown a bit too forcefully off the bus
Bumping hard into the cigarette and peanut vendor
Passing by at that very moment with his rattle and basket
Whose wares spill onto the street
Where they are scooped up by dozens of passersby
Some of whom reload them into the basket for later sale
Rewarded like trained pigeons
By the vendor’s simple thanks
And some of whom take them to consume
In gratitude for the gifts of alcohol and fate
As the bus fare collector raps hard on the side of the bus
Which signals the driver he can go
The driver releases the brake
A CD falls into a CD player
And to rhythms known to all
We glide into the flow of traffic
Headed for the border
Another crossing
Another unknown frontier