“In the land of my ancestors”

Latest in a series of posts on the Arts in Bethlehem

Nighttime in Kaduna

In the land of my ancestors,
as sunset signals the end of a day
and twinkling stars hide behind
a curtain of settling dusk,
wheels of steel beasts of burden
mold grooves in the hard red clay
and the untiring racket is
magically transformed into
a haunting melody.
Roadside merchants cajole
buyers to lantern-lit stands
as their haggling reechoes
in the dying light.
A swarm of crickets tune
their strings for their
nocturnal exhibition,
calming my fears like
a tranquilizing symphony.
Soon, a resonant call
for the day’s final prayer
is reverently answered by
followers of Islam.
And the fast pace of the
exotic language turns to
soft whispers tossed
wildly in the wind . . .

Louise Holmes-Johnson
Bethlehem, Pa.

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third in a series

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