Two Poems

dans la maladie

I came across it in my dreams and I woke up singing the French for it – dans la maladie, dans la maladie.
A meshwork of metal
Inside the disease
Becoming an illness.
I saw it the next day and it was
All over the place, in pieces.
It must have taken more than strength to pry my eyes open and
collect them, and once there, put it together again, paint it
tell it to relax, try not to kill me.Even though it listened I still woke up and it was
outside of my lines.
Inside of what ails me, I can always fix something,
And paint things.
And sing in French even when I cannot speak the language.
as a servant
i have never been to Paris
but i know an African man is sitting on a bench there, surrounded by pigeons. listening to les garagistes.
i know i am sitting across from him, and I am reminded of all the ways I don’t know how I want to tell you
that even after all the things you’ve done I still get lost trying to describe circles –
those that cut the world in half, those inside your eyes
and those in the dusty, distant Senegalese fields behind the mirrors of Paris. the mirrors that always reflect my image slightly out of phase.
I remember how you blinked and the whole world rearranged itself,
and when you opened your eyes, you weren’t here anymore.
the man and his pigeons cross the street, perhaps to mourn your death atop Senghor’s cathedral steeples from which he could see the whole world, but only as a servant.
and as a servant, i think of you.
in the sense that
this thought goes four different ways, in as many places,
but ends up invariably, ungrudgingly, underground – on you.
you know how they tried so hard to teach us about Africa? in a way, they succeeded.
i watch the pigeons fly south east. i see your wings somewhere there.
and la vie is playing in the air.
About the Writer:

Michelle Angwenyi is a Kenyan writer currently living in Nairobi. She blogs at