Nic Sebastian
   acacia tortilis

we are trekking north from Mweya
to Kikorongo across open savannah
through lion country 

the Ruwenzoris rise high blue 
before us and parched wind sways
the grasses of the plain

an old man sits under a thorn tree 
sewing a rope of buffalo hide 
with an acacia thorn

his rope stretches out miles 
from him over the savannah 
into the western horizon

suddenly crashing wing-roar 
and a swarm of glittering bees 
led by their queen 

meet your new home, my bees!
the bees blanket the thorn tree 
and the old man warmly

then a maned lion charges 
on rippled muscle and with great
bee-roar voice 

he pounces on the old man 
but the bees are swift and they enfold 
the lion who falls

to earth from muscled midair as tinkling white
bone while the old man yanks hard
on his rope of buffalo hide 

and our feet through the earth
feel the peak Margherita
miles away in the high blue distance

ripped groaning from all her height
oh the sorrow of it and oh the pain
of waking

    adansonia digitata

inside the baobab
lives a dark slender girl 
dressed in drifting
moon-cloth who carries

a luminous bone dagger 
upon which she has carved 
many names

at her belt a bag of duiker skin 
swells with the pulsing 
prayers she has stolen 
and kept

singing high 
she rides as she pleases
upon the great winds
and through the light 

she haunts the canopy  
of the baobab tree
and at night she bends 
over your fevered 

sleep and whispers:
ausculta, fili! I am 
that to which nothing 
may be preferred

her eyes are dark gold 
as wild bee honey 
and when she moves
little blood-beads fall

in scalding rows 
from her prayer bag
and settle steaming 
on the path behind her