The Lady
I shall arrive in Africa
in gauze cloth
and smelling of honey.

I shall have sightings
of large hills and a far star
which I shall name.

I shall come and go as a man
and bag a tiger
on a mid-week afternoon.

I shall plant
a dahlia (or other foreign
flower) in tinderbox scrub

and wait for burst skies
to lather
petals from its thigh.

I shall awake
in blue days
unlaced by hornbills

and sleep
safe and naked
under solid slabs of sky.

I shall teach
that women should not be sold,
blood is not for drinking,

a chicken's entrails
can never
bring good rain,

and that beads
are cheap
as dirt.

All day I shall fill the world
with love
and infinite mercy.

See how my kind,
pink hands
mark time

in this place
I now fully comprehend,
but where I cannot pray.

--- From The Lady Missionary
Gail Dendy
©2007 Kwela Books/Snailpress
Box 6525
Roggebaai 8012
South Africa
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