My Son’s Nairobi to Harare Motorbike Odyssey


I watch our strange December sun, see you
where Harry Potter tattoos
whiplash across the sky;
warthogs barrel across your path;
thieves, who spotted your gleaming chariot
back at the Broken Bridge Café,
lurk in the baobab tree,
ready to ambush your odyssey.

I screen old movies of your childhood:
the swallowed camphorated oil,
which nearly swallowed your life at two,
the dive from a kopje at three, caught at the ankle
by a fleet-footed uncle;
nail that sprang from a half-built tree-house
into the white of your eye,
your small torso on a bolting horse.

Now every hazard is permitted entry –
the rabid bat, shadow hand, hurtling lorry,
burning sun and thunderous rain,
the slow puncture, empty fuel tank,
non-existent map. But your road lies open,
and never before did such an openness exist.
I trust that you will continue to be charmed.
After all, how can the gods resist?

Afric McGlinchey’s debut collection, The Lucky Star of Hidden Things, was published in 2012 by Salmon. She is a former Hennessy Poetry Award winner and Pushcart Prize nominee.