Down in Africa

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
Poem inspired in part by a Hemingway story called "the snows of Kilimanjaro"

Submitted: June 14, 2011

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Submitted: June 14, 2011



After the silence has taken me,

cold against the entire world,

I find myself with them in Africa.

The heat is so clingy in the savannah

and we are making our way to Kilimanjaro.

I have the feeling that I have been here before.

All of them are wearing strange expressions

and he turns to me and smiles mysteriously.

I ask him, "What are we doing here?"

He stops and stands oh so close to me,

that strange, glittering smile playing on his lips,

and he says softly, "I'll hold your hand...."

But there is something in his eyes 

that I don't trust and I tell him I'll be alright.

Kilimanjaro is getting bigger as we approach

its massive base and apprehension grips me -

I can feel that something's wrong here.

As if they heard my thougths, they all turn to comfort me

but their reassurances sound hollow,

as if coming to me from a great distance.

I look up and suddenly, Kilimanjaro is right there,

bold and disarming in its enormous height.

He comes to me and the distinctive smell of his skin

invades my air, my nostrils.

He stands inches from my wanting lips,

expressionless, except for a very faint

hint of mockery at the corner of his mouth.

He says, "Close your eyes."

I obey because I can't keep a straight head

with him standing that close to me and,

almost imperceptible in the sound of the wind,

I hear the achingly beautiful strains of a piano piece,

and I can feel myself flying, as if to find its source.

I hear his voice, so close, and

I think it might be inside my head.

I don't know what he is saying and

I'm beginning to lose myself in the music, in his voice.

It could be moments, it could be days - I can't tell.

Without the warning, the music stops and

I find myself enveloped in great silence,

the kind of silence only a deaf person knows.

I instinctively reach out for him,

trying desperately to find reality in this nightmare,

but I touch only air and the place where his body should be

is decidely empty.

I'm so afraid to keep my eyes closed

but I'm terrified at the thought of

opening them to find only the void.

But I open them and almost forget to breathe,

never having expected to find this enigma

I am standing in a field of grass,

so evergreen in this dying atmosphere -

the pale blue cold of the snows of Kilimanjaro -

and it's still winter all around me

but I am standing in the middle of a paradox-

an oasis, a mirage complete with summer flowers.

"Someone take a picture before it fades away..."

I whisper wonderously to no one in particular.

I ask myself, confused and bewildered,

did I fall off the edge of the Earth yesterday?

Out of nowhere, I hear his whisper in my ear,

his breath hot on my neck and his tone amused,

"Who says it never snows in Africa?"

I turn to look and he's not there and I realize

that they have all betrayed me.

They've left me here on the fringe of sanity,

completely alone and unaware,

with nothing but the solitude to kill me.

And I realize that this has become my fate

and it all makes sense and

somehow, I know that I did fall off

the edge of the Earth yesterday.

I push aside my loneliness and fear

and I settle down, getting used to this.

So this is death, I think calmly

and slowly, resign myself to Eternity.

© Copyright 2017 Violet Vane. All rights reserved.

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