(For Malidoma Somé, Loon Lake 2000)
You enter life a ship laden with meaning, purpose and gifts
Sent to be delivered to a hungry world,
And as much as the world needs your cargo,
You need to give it away.
Everything depends on this.
But the world forgets its needs,
And you forget your mission, and
The ancestral maps used to guide you
Have become faded scrawls on the parchment of dead Pharaohs.
The cargo weighs you heavy the longer it is held
And spoilage becomes a risk.
Your ship sputters from port to port and at each you ask:
“Is this the way?”
But the way cannot be found without knowing the cargo,
And the cargo cannot be known without recognizing there is a way,
And it is simply this:
You have gifts.
You must deliver them.
The world may not know it is starving,
But the hungry know,
And they will find you
When you discover your cargo
And start to give it away.