The Blue People

A sand storm brings you into
Kano through scrubland dust,
half built empty houses.
Tall on camels you ride in
down one of the five
trade routes that stretch
like fingers through Africa.

Part noble, part slave,
with French on your tongue
and a knife at your belt,
your bodies sway
as if some long forgotten
song has reached your ears.
You pray to Allah
but Islam is like one card in a pack,
shuffled between djinns,
the casting of cowry shells
and tales of lizard spirits.

When you dismount
a rustle of fabric trembles
in a hot wind.
Silver rings shine
against blue black skin
and as the indigo cloth
swathes your head,
you stand veiled and watchful
against a yellow sky.