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David Schimmelpfennig

António Enes, Mozambique, Dry Season 1974            

You’ve gotten smarter over the years,
said the coyote to the sheep.
At least you took this place back from the Euros.

Sun bakes the city square for a faction of the timeless poor.
Two dirt roads converge on a fruit stand and a quonset church.
On the opposite corner, 
huddles a cinderblock box-shaped café.
Dust blowing in from the square
seeping under the legs of its tables and chairs
wearing little round holes in the concrete slab floor.

From the window, there’s a young girl in a pretty white dress.
She hums and skips in front of her mother into the church,
her first communion.
Dad stands by the fruit stand and chats
Looks in the open door of the café,
back towards the church.
What if I go into the café instead of the church?
Is an iced drink and more chat, worth Mother’s scorn,
daughter’s disappointment?
Just for a minute, before I’m missed.

“Have you heard the road from Beira to Tete is closed?”
Squinting into the sun, back toward the church, 
where a dog circles a spot with nose down,
“why are the opposition doing so well?”
and lies down on the steps of the church.
“They can’t be a real threat?
No, our military is strong.
Uniforms from Portugal, guns from America.”

“Was going to try to get the business going again.
But, maybe we'd be safer near Mom in the capitol......”
Later returning to find the holes in the café are bigger 
and now in the wall, where the window used to be.

The coyote and the sheep both shake their heads as
sun bakes the floor of the café and the little holes in the floor.
Easier now to look out and see the church.
It has no roof either.

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