RAVENS OF KILIFI

Written by: HELLEN MASIDO

they are slender
like anorexic size zero models
attired totally in black
like undertakers 
announcing the bad news

and they have this annoying caw
that they like startling us with
they go hide behind the leaves 
of the huge mango tree
a whole clan of them
ravens
then on cue
they fly out suddenly cawing loudly
making everyone start
and stand shocked at their stunt

they eat everything i think
like vultures
but they are ever thin
because they are thieves

yesterday one snatched away
a piece of fried potato
from an unsuspecting child's hand
the kid looked up at the flying raven
with a sad weepy look
and a shiny oily hand
full of the promise of nothing

i wish they  would disappear
these black undertakers
but somehow life would be unbearable
for they too have great uses

were it not for them
the shore-side i love sitting on
would forever smell of
fish scales and insides
that the fishermen throw there

and so they irritate me
with their annoying caw
and fill me me with foreboding
when they caw at night for 
for i am superstitious
and they startle me always
in the evenings
 when they perform their endless stunts
but when i sit on the clean shore
and unleash a biscuit 
that they caw greedily at
as they stare down at me
from the baobab trees above
i munch peacefully
smelling only the salty sea
I'm accustomed to
then gratefully, and begrudgingly so
i smile up
in a love hate way
at these annoying ravens of kilifi