Bernard Farai Matambo, Univer­sity of Ne­braska Press (MARCH) Hard­cover $17.95 (96pp), 978-1-4962-0558-2

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Po­etry is mar­velous trans­porta­tion. Africa beck­ons—you want some of me?—and the poet takes pains, takes pens to the stuff of his life, so that we can ex­pe­ri­ence the Zim­babwe in the man. An Ober­lin Col­lege cre­ative writ­ing as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, Bernard Farai Matambo won the Siller­man First Book Prize for African Poets.

Feasts for the Blind

That year it rained crows. Birds fell out of the sky in mid­flight. Their squawk­ing made mother ner­vous. It gave her the chills and made her teeth chat­ter. She threw her eyes ev­ery­where and through the win­dow caught the taut sky tight­en­ing. It had been dark for days. I watched her avidly and stabbed her with eyes full of ques­tions. Don’t be an id­iot, she shot back, the earth too re­mains hun­gry. She was go­ing blind, and her mind was be­gin­ning to sag. She walked into things and smiled with suf­fer­ing. She stared into dark cor­ners and hummed into them. She gath­ered noth­ing of the swelling whiff but stood by the win­dow and stared hard out­side. The beauty of the birds tor­mented her. In the yel­low moon­light they glowed with the threat of bet­ter things to come. I licked my lips and heard her mum­ble in­audi­bles. She kept her gaze out­side, watch­ing the birds fat­ten, a sour breath gath­er­ing among them, a har­vest of pus wait­ing in the wound.

From Foot­notes in the Or­der of Dis­ap­pear­ance by Fady Joudah (Min­neapo­lis: Milk­weed Edi­tions, 2018). Copy­right © 2018 by Fady Joudah. Reprinted with per­mis­sion from Milk­weed Edi­tions. milk­

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