crayons for africa

the children of your village wake you at six
to be taught the drawing of moons
before heat collapses the countryside
like a balloon wilting

send crayons you write
in letters filled with harmattan sand
that sifts into my carpets
the children lose the stubs
or leave them in the equitorial sand
where they melt into colonial maps
of the patchwork continent
distorted hearts straining to speak love
like Salvadore Dali clocks tell time
with all the colours of Conrad's harlequin

convinced another shortage exists
we collect crayons for africa
package them in old chocolate boxes bound with twine
and ship them into the darkness
where they are confiscated
by customs officials in Lagos

Brian Burke