A country of the mind

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
Cricket bat,
grabbed the saw like a champion, and gave that long blink of his to straighten
the air,
while I clamped down harder on the Af’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 kid’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 Way’s dazzling curtain pull across.
“Why stay?” I asked, just to hear him say it.
Blythe blinked that blink again.
“I would rather keep some whole country on the mind and
Zimbabwe under my fingernails
than the other way around.”