|Rain in Kenya
Karen Blixen left Kenya
where coffee branches waved
limp white five-point flowers.
The drying stars ruined her,
sucked crowns from her relatives'
woolen pockets. In Rungsted,
the fire cast light past her high cheek bones
into her cheeks' dry ponds. -- She wondered
if it were raining on the coffee farm.
On the abandoned farm a tulip tree falls.
I close the gate to leave for the city.
The male dog shows his profile, stares.
His eyes accuse.
The females seek shade.
Farewells hold no promise.
They know hope's and worry's mettle.
In the city I imagine they eat
a thief's gift of poisoned meat;
think the man who feeds them forgets,
no water for a week.
A tulip tree falls, flattens the fence.
They wander off, kill chickens, pigs,
horses, reach San Juan, hop ship,
hop off in Calcutta. Their flesh is pink
and hairless. I am never there.
I have fixed the muffler.
The dogs do not run to the gate
as I turn up the hill. It smells like fire.
Someone is roasting coffee.
Karen Blixen went to Denmark,
stopped swallowing arsenic to cure
her syphillis, found a young poet,
revenge for everything in life - fire,
sex, rain, harvests - hope could not
control. With her breath she steered
him, a bubble on a still day.
An elk hound lay at her feet.
"Selfishness of great loss," she thought.
The coffee farm consumed her. He did not.
Old age took the dogs.
I halt in mid-sentence
to wonder if they have water.
Ants devour sweet coffee pulp,
red gums for two white teeth.
Something remains of hope and worry.
Blixen never returned to Africa.
Coffee stains the porcelain.
In the jungle a tree falls.