A long straight stretch of road lies
between Kitwe and Chingola –
dull grey, smelling of sticky tyres.
It slices through the blood-red
Zambian soil like a machete cut.
Heat coils off its dead surface
in roiling curls, tasting of tar –
slicking bodies in metallic sweat.
But in the smoking distance
sweet, blue sheets tease,
full of cool, clean water.
I watched for long, thirsty miles,
expecting that this road –
laid out like a lifetime before me –
would reach the soft splashing thrill…