He gave me an evil look.
It was down the road to Suleja; through green and yellow corn fields.
The shimmering sun cast her smile upon Zuma rock lighting up those two deep holes.
Her shadow looked more beautiful than ever.
I was lost in wonder. How blessed it would be to stand at the zenith.
Alas, my neck could stand strain for only so long.
I turned and what a curse.
Unfortunate mortal. That I died in my cradle.
His eyes fell on mine.
The hate. The horror.
Those tiny red balls wished me death and destruction.
Of that I am sure.
Twas but a few seconds but enough to seal my fate.
Down the windy path his beaten down Volvo went but I never forgot.
Forever cursed creature.
Eternally damned brute.
I roamed the earth; wanderer, loner.
A curse on my shoulders.
Citizen of all places, native of none.
Do not think I lived a gypsy’s life for I took a wife as my father did.
She bore me boys; robust and sturdy.
Her sister had hips, wide as the ocean tide.
So we took to bed and I bade her destroy the evidence of our unholy alliance.
Of my Victor and Alphonse, I saw little.
Yet they lacked nothing as money came easy to me.
Pa and Ma lived like kings.
Still, folk say they died of broken hearts and dashed hopes.
For unhappy they were amidst so much wealth.
Their only child, a vagabond.
I dined with murderers.
I broke bread with drunkards.
Some mornings I said; “enough slave of Shaitan; you shall be better.”
Like a sudden spell, the eyes appear before me and drag my doomed soul down the abyss.
Joy never felt, friends never kept.
I do not blame Leila for leaving me.
Nor do I denounce the poor woman for taking my children.
I continue my travels.
Today, a new city.
Tomorrow, a new village.
The day after, a new town.
I carry the weight of my worries on my back.
Lines crisscross my face like a double helix.
My skin is shrunken, wrinkled and sallow.
These joints ache all over.
The doctor is dismissive; “get these drugs” he says, shoving a prescription in my face.
Is there no one to give but one hug to this tormented savage?
I hear Leila is wedded again… some foreigner from far-off parts.
Alphonse found me out and told me between tears.
A man of God once said “God made the blazing fire for sinners like you.”
Standing on my porch, he warned of thirst and suffering and great want.
He read from an old book; things he cannot begin to understand.
I spoke to him of my hell and he took flight.
This is the tale of my life.
Ruined perchance by a stranger.
Perhaps he lives, with luck he’s dead.
I am looking at the mirror now.
Appraising what remains of a once promising man.
Behind the glass, my tormentor lurks.
I smile and he grins.
I squint and he returns the favor.
Oh, cursed be the day he gave me an evil look.