Ajabu

ajabu is a Swahili word for "magical"

Kenyan stamps on blue tissue -- the usual pregnant arrival of words.
Always a marvel with facts and specifics, she notices things


no one else notices, then shares them with a practical generosity.
You might as well know this.


And after she says she's grown fat on chocolate, outlines a day
of clinical work and tells of a hippo, the green mambas in the yard,


there is something else. A woman in labor. Undilated and staring
into the eyes of something, she arrived alone from the village.


No supplies in the cabinets, no time and two hours of one ruptured dirt road.
They carried her to the Jeep, knew they'd never make Migori before she collapsed,


then how stunned we were to find the road repaired! The ruts filled in, tangled
roots and rock removed, smoothed over. They made it in forty-five minutes,


delivered the woman and her child and afterward asked when the road was restored, how, by whom. Why had they heard no shovels, no singing?


The nurses shook their heads then, the hagglers in the market shrugged. At dusk
they turned the Jeep for home, lurched back onto the road and you must know this --


She writes of the endless ragged tracks, the old sprawling scar, and how for two hours
in silence they labored their way back, each star beating down.