Crisp desert sky, thin boys asking for coins.
Looking through the restaurant door, one is sniffing glue.
He is the most persistent as we head back to the truck.
Down the street we stop to buy tobacco
for the villages we will visit.
It seems dirty
but they chew it or sell it
and there a life of 60 years is a rarity.
While the bags are stuffed
another boy takes me by the wrist.
I pull away, my fingers enclosing two bills,
but he is just pointing to my bracelet
that was made for me by a school headmaster to the north.
“Kenya,” he says.
“Yes,” I reply. “Kenya.”
The sun has set,
dripping down the wall of sky
and spreading across the horizon
into a low orange blur
behind the acacia.
One man waits with a gun
while the other tests and adjusts a remote camera.
As they work, the night is washing away
the last smears of daylight,
and the sky is being overtaken by stars
that are flickering into the hush
of the rising and falling winds.
Walking back to camp
I talk with the scout
about the city and the bush.
“Here,” he says, “there is space to breathe”
“Space to think.”
“Last night,” he goes on. “A lion called behind camp.”
“We found it’s spore here.”
I sit out to listen to the stars.
As the Milky Way floods into view.