I am One of The Caged Birds
(To Maya Angelou)
My shank pip out to spot my fellow wings,
though of different colors and shapes,
from the fluid cage since the shadowy point.
I sulk to flee the cold from
the callous snowy soil,
though the coop metal gate was bolted,
with my bald and skinless neck.
And those like me in blood and eye-sights
crouch with outward smiley face -
built with rotten rice and cassava and maize.
Dogs eating dogs and things fall apart –
Our cooked foods are enjoyed
by our visitors
and we – turned their watchmen.
And our crops turn their plants
for us to buy.
They’ve swapped our
bearers’ tongues with theirs.
And they on our wings now survive.
Our saliva is dry – we can no longer sing –
We wheeze and sneeze to feel an atom breeze.
Surely you may know -
why the caged bird sings
how the flutes of others fine-tune his throat –
hidden to the free bird flowing
in the cloudless sky .
I am one of the caged birds –
troubling my gangan,
bata and kora, yes,
for freedom of my vein’s wits,
and of her sights and her legs.
The caged bird
no longer sings but wheezes,
sneezes and drums not.
He shivers but never allowed to dance.
(Published in Kafla Intercontinental
- Summer 2015)