from market, the stalls locked early
from no queues: Cameroon’s been caught
by an economic crisis for twenty years.
Lucy stays home, Tumbah only goes for news;
he’s got one shoe with no heel, another without laces.
The road’s full of dark-suited men
talking about chasing pay.
A clamor from three trees, ruined
eucalyptus stripped to phloem:
picked these limbs clean.
Kin to the innocent finch, weavers colonize trees.
By the hundreds, nests
perch upside down
like woven straw Christmas bulbs.
These birds love millet or corn:
they glean field by field. I’ve seen
plots razed to ruble.
Taxis honk, drivers
lean out windows to beg fares.
Like the birds, cars grow louder:
mufflers have become a luxury.
I gape as a weaver flies to the next limb,
rifling the last leaves
to clothe its nest,
flaying its own tree.