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Dream Tree

Onye's uncle would take him into the forest

to bring back wood to carve a drum

round and moonish.

Deep in the Nigerian forest they could 

search for days.

By feeling the tree his uncle could know the vibration

it would carry into the drum

and by tasting it, he could hear the sound

of the instrument that would later accompany

the yam farmers as they opened the

fertile ground in the morning .

He was also a mask carver and this was how it went,

the soul of the tree coming  into

his hands along with the  planet light and sunlight

that had trickled through the canopy 

down its limbs,

and the stars that fell like lights

from the ancestors nodding their heads.

The moon would show its eyes through slits

and they would lavish the drum head 

with animal brains to make it last.


The ones that resonated to the furthest outposts

of the universe

came from trees hit by lightning.

You can see it come over this African when he plays-

The lightning comes down into the top of his head,

into his hands and then the skin.

 
The beauty is, he can't be burned

because his head is partially composed of stars

and so it is true he has healed

and brought fertility

and sent the dying up to the open arms

of the ancestors

with this drumming from the heart of the forest.


Amy Trussell 

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ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT KRISTA LYNN BROWN