POEM – The Road


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…

It didn’t.

zambian road

2 responses »

  1. Ohhhhhhhh that has to be the ultimate mirage! Swearing that you see an oasis in the distance, and then realizing it’s not actually there… Was this inspired by your time in Africa, Sarah?

  2. Thank you for taking the time to comment Sara:). Yes… I recall on very hot, thirsty drive to Kitwe, where we lived and seeing the mirage and waiting and waiting to get there. I must have been about 7 at the time – however I wrote this poem a while ago when still feel a tad bitter and angry about the hard place I found myself, so it is also a metaphor…

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