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Safe House

Sirens trespass through our bar window
and a mess of red lights dance disco
on our writing pads.

We will not follow the dead
or the dying, the child to be saved
or born still, the old man whose engine

has died mid-stroke, or the victim
of multiple gunshots. We will not
follow those dying from just living.

The ambulance passes by and we
remain snouts dipped in a river's
rush only lifting up our heads

to let the roar pass. Neither
predator nor prey, and at times one
or the other, we are poets in a safe

-house made out of spit and words.
We continue drinking one life
as another, others pass us by.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi

University of Nebraska Press

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