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Erstwhile his skin was beautiful as an obsidian, with great markings alongside his face, as was the likeness of the Benin people; an imagery so poignant and meaningful.
His shoulders were wide, his back strong and his mind resourceful.
In his quondam years, the mystery of the Niger River had captured his inquisitive soul and inspired his longings to ride the smooth waves in a Pirogue.
A tale far from the likes of any mythical apologue.
The spirit of his graceful and modest mother, who lovingly called him Baako, once hunted his dreams.
On his hard days and nights, his body cried out from pain and his cheeks were forced upon by relentless water streams.
His memory of his proud father of great strength and wisdom once pounded against his brain.
In an everlasting refrain.
Once, with recapturing flashbacks his mind was flooded with the taunting sounds of the water drums and sticcado.
Fast and sweeping rhythmic legato.
And his mind automatically reclaimed images of his village, with its thatched roof huts and rows of lifted cultured soils with beans and yams bedded deep, and grass of deeper green.
And the days long, and the sun harsh and the nights with brilliant white stars that convene.
There, he now lay face down on foreign land with its first winters snow.
With his life source seeping deep and wide into soft crystals giving it a crimson glow.
Tattered clothes revealed his back; etched with brutal markings liking that of an old twisted and leafless tree.
His calloused feet a grayish-blue as the Adriatic sea.
His last breath was a moan for his native land.
The Mother Land.
The harmony of his innate love for his country, his people, and his latent genius and powerful will has been dispersed, wasted and erased.

Copyright © Mary E.W. Stephenson