Are you leaving Al-Kindi tonight,
The stars and the round moons wrapped in a celestial roof,
Are you packing your kisses, your hugs and your secret glances
with you?
The fire will be extinguished tonight,

the woods will go damp,
Do you recall, even as you turn your back against me, the:
copper colored beach that has sealed mysterious and a painful

Coconut swinging,
to and fro,
chanting and praying,
Like a mantis, with eyes like red sun on an altar of leaf,

Under an assault of wind,
forward and backward,
in domains of modernity and tradition,
In the world of the dead and living,
bowing to the commands  of the most-high-in-the-sky,

Do you ever visit these moments ‘oh mendacious daughter of house
of Zanj’?
Blue waters, drenched in aquamarine wisdom of our ancestors,
Blue oceans that touch hands with ‘those that have gone’
In the mind of these oceans exists a beach,
A sandy beach, with pebbles of memory,
There are tiny holes in this beach,
tiny holes and sporadic,
the fractals of our varying triumphs and defeats in quest for
A lonely crab of the Island of Segeju emerges cautiously from
her hole,
awaken by the footsteps of a passerby,
she smiles through her diaphanous shell,
reads the thought of the passer by,
hesitant steps,
then she shyly burrows herself in her dark cave,

Do you ever think that I that can forever carry these tears in
my eyes?
The thought of you leaving me has sent thermal spears to my
creating a boiling and a burning sensation,
Remember daughter of Shungwaya,
When the sharp horns of the biggest Segeju bull prickles my
my heart dreams and grows branches like a Mnjaa tree during the
Masika season,

I see my grandmother weaving a carpet,
I see being weaved by the hands of nature,
a strand and a layer at a time,
The colors, patterns and shape she applies to the carpet,
I feel my life is being weaved by skilled hands,

Have you ever heard the beats of tall Kuro drum?
I hear my weak steps not ready to take risks,
I also hear strong beats,

courageous rivers fed by streams of
primordial wisdom,
My struggles being peeled and recasted one strand at a time to
create a carpet of my thoughts and actions,

Something will die tonight,
The stars looks like agitated scorpions,
their tails high, promising wrath,
they will inject poison to the one left,
left behind by the daughter of Al-Kindi.



Post image by Wendelin Jacober via Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - RafiqMohamed Yunus Rafiq is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at Brown University with research interest in the intersection of state, religion and public health. Formerly, Mohamed co-founded and managed Aang Serian Peace Village, a Tanzanian NGO based in Arusha, Tanzania for over five years working in education and indigenous knowledge. One of Aang Serian’s main goals was to utilize Tanzania’s diverse indigenous knowledge to create sustainable and ethical development responses.  Apart from his academic interests, Mohamed is a fiction writer and an independent documentary maker. His documentary film “Swahili Fighting Words” won the Ousame Sembene Award at Zanzibar International Festival. His recent creative works include the Hope’s Hunter which was published in a collection called Africa 39 by Bloomsbury Press and The Lessons of Salt and Honey by Jalada Literary Journal.  He currently lives and works in Bagamoyo, Tanzania.