If the Pères Blancs send money,
I will ransom more slaves. Jean, now free,
believes that the wind pursues him; he crouches
in burrows, old wells. We plug our ears
when the wind sputters and moans. I hear
the panting of boys with bands of scar
and bruise on their backs, two colors of tattoo.
Jean says the wind of harmattan burns
his ankles, his neck. The wind of simoom
flings sand at our hut, and scours the mothers
who lose their babies to thieves, and hardens
their tears to shards of salt, slivers of glass.