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Photos & Poems from Tanzania, Africa 1989

John Dominis and Evelyn Floret in Tanzania, Africa 1989

Red

His face is red earth.
Grimy, hot. Fiery
pupils swim in
molten eyes.

Massai red
beads clutch neck and shoulders.
He fires up on crimson
blood in clouds of milk.

His hair is rust.
A henna braid scorches
his head.

His mouth is a bell.
Titian tongue
Summons family, goats, carroty
calves press togeth
er warm. Read
y children blush.
Only one
cries dread.

He wraps his ruby
robe tighter.
Wind pricks skin scarlet.
Empty hut glows.
Dung walls
steam sanguine.

Leaves flame from a burnt
sky, flicker through incarmined clouds
land silent on cold
rusty rock. Seemingly-constant-
red-of-the-lantern-
ready-or-not-turns black.

         Evelyn Floret

Close Shave

I sleep
At the crater rim
Shielded by canvass
In thundering rain
Electric night

I am encircled
A wandering elephant
Silently
Dispenses
Mounds of evidence

I awaken
Pitched against wind
Towel flutters
Splashes warmth
In a green basin.

I rise
Shrouded in white mist
Descend steeply
Through blue wisps
To the yellow crater floor.

I watch
Brown gold black white red
Stripes spots dots rhythms
Kill reprieve attack retreat
Eat starve

Eyes dusted gray
Legs bruised blue
Back aching echoing the
Landrover’s surge, up

I ride as red gets richer
Reaches the crater rim
Returns to black.

I am drunk
A red rubber bottle
Warms my feet
Melts me
Into dreams.

          Evelyn Floret

Elephant

Feet aweigh
Tail like a rope
Parade pounds
At a leisurely lope
Two ivory shafts
Lead the way
Crinkled skin follows
The trunk’s ballet
Silently onward
Dainty elephant
Don’t go away.

         Evelyn Floret