Last night in Zim.
Always sad, yet hopeful.
When I close my eyes, what do I see? I see cows, lots of cows. I see dirt and smiles and torn pants, and worn shoes without laces, and military style tents, and boma sheeting and solar lights, and old shovels, and buckets of water, and Jeeps and Land Rovers, and bare feet, and maize, and the Southern Cross, and the Large Magellanic Cloud, and grass of every type, perennials and annuals and palatable and non-palatable, and finger-like grass and feather-like grass and sticky and thorny and bearded grass. I see rivers and mud, and baboons tearing thatch from my hut so the rain wets the blankets, and turtles surveying the world like little generals in a bunker, and the hornbills gobbling grasshoppers, and praying mantises flying across the flashlight beam like lost angels, and scorpion-like spiders, and baby sheep and baying goats, and Dojiwe the elephant head-butting a marula tree to make the fruit fall to the ground where she can fetch them with her articulate trunk or we can feed them to her, saying “Trunk up!”, and then putting them in her mouth as we scratch her tongue while she rumbles in the elephant version of a purr. I see lightning and hear the white noise of my fan, and the pestering pigeons. I hear the night owl and crickets and the train between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls screeching its arthritic wheels on the poorly managed tracks. I hear the chefs in the kitchen, chopping, cleaning, laughing, and shouting. I hear the car from town bringing supplies, fruit and meat and vegetables, and sadza and rusk, and tea, and milk and water and beer. I hear hyena and lion daring each other in an antagonism as old as time. I hear the mouths flying into the lamp. I hear the roosters. I hear the dogs at the kraal barking at creatures in the forest. I hear the tv playing it’s one and only Zimbabwe station. I hear the water boil. I hear the wind. I feel the heat and the sand and the sweat and the nasty seeds in my shoes. If feel the ants in my bed, the little fuckers. I smell the dung and the approaching storm and the sweet morning and the bacon. I see the sun setting, casting its long light on old windows with iron bars and a lime tree, with bulbous green fruit, ready to drop. I see distant trees with flat tops, looking like fans, holding the crest of hills, waving goodbye, and daring me to return.