A Cotonou night in a small dilapidated hotel.
The room’s a windowless cube,
the dado vivid green, the upper wall white,
a child’s building-block where sleep is quiet and deep inside.
The ceiling’s propeller spins fast enough
to lift an aeroplane into the clouds;
below, the unprotected bed has no net.
A mosquito’s slender shadow flits on the wall,
a companion, and fear sinks into fellow-feeling:
that her role is indeed to be born
into such a skinny little body
with no one asking her permission,
and mine to flee,
protect myself from her desire
that, asking no one, nor explaining,
drives her towards my body’s murmuring riverbed,
not telling why blood is a target of desire,
fever and germination.