For Dr. Richard Davy of Chiredzi, Zimbabwe. Bon Voyage, our beloved Richard.
What was once a biped had been reduced
to something less by the time he lay on our gurney.
On the left, the ankle joint had been mined to a drumstick.
Blythe, a self-described mouse with the tennis racket and the
grabbed the saw like a champion, and gave that long blink of his to straighten
while I clamped down harder on the Afâ€™s crotch through his sliced fatigues.
Blythe ground and patched carefully, pulling at the skin as he would a delicate pastry.
When he was done with that left side, maybe three hours,
he moved the right and lanced and cleaned the kidâ€™s botfly boils.
Years later, after most of us had gapped it and the gangrenous land grabs were turning the rest against the place, I found him in the sweaty Lowveld.
They cooked over the fire that night, sandwiches and eggs from the coop at the back.
The garden boy,
a smiley chap with a flattened nose, was bedding down across the front stoop for safety.
We sat out and ate next to a gnarled Baobab, its notches worn by kids grown and gone, and watched the Milky Wayâ€™s dazzling curtain pull across.
â€œWhy stay?â€ I asked, just to hear him say it.
Blythe blinked that blink again.
â€œI would rather keep some whole country on the mind and
Zimbabwe under my fingernails
than the other way around.â€