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Deep in Sierra Leone bush
night sky swallows stars
as New Moon rises.
Blind talisman
wears an inky coat,
musty mix of too-hot peppers,
cassava leaf drowned in palm oil,
flames of three-stone fires.

Darkness whispers
thrums and hums,
bats click, owls whistle
petals embrace, then sigh.
Mothers chant
lore to dreaming children,
the Gaboon Viper sways
like rice-full waters,
hunts the river’s wale
fangs spitting venom.

We follow contours
worn by bare feet,
plume a smoke of laterite
at the water’s edge,
conjure souls of animists,
return our lost talisman
night in full light.


Susan Scott is a retired GED mathematics instructor. She lives a nomadic existence, counting three continents, four countries and ten states as home. She is still waiting to stop somewhere.

© 2018, Susan Scott

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