I Dream of Africa in Technicolor

Autumn Hayes (1st place. Poetry. Spring 2012 Writing Contest)
Orchids of impossible blue
spring up from crumbly-coffeegrind rainforest soil,
diamondbeads of water poised to drip
from their lips,
        sparkling, slipping through thick air,
        licking lemurs,
while crocodiles, capuchins, and butterflies share tea,
and yet…

Endless expanses of elbow-high grasses
stretch away in goldenwheat glory,
         shades of purple-grey,
         lilac, peach, and tangerine
                 creeping their stalks
                         like thirsty beggars up dusty paths,
and yet…

Monolithic mountains and twisted trees
throw flocks of long birds
to the sky in white Vs,
fluttering across khaki roads
riddled with cocoa-rice puddles
reflecting the sky,

and, still,
the people
         the people are all in midstride
                                with oilspill eyes,
         slim-bent under their burdens,
                         listing off toward the side
               of the road                                 and staring
         always staring
         some with wonder, some with daring
         at the foreign to them
                  the non-African
                         the thing that doesn’t fit in
         at who?

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