Nah Fatigue!

Time to drive again
Across the city
See her eyes light up
Feel her wrinkled hands
On my face
A kiss on each cheek
A feeble embrace
“Bai, look how yuh get gray”

We catch up on old times, and people
Who died, who’s in hospital
Who recently got married, or divorced
It’s like my weekly inbox
From another world

I bring roti, white and brown
Different ailments, different needs
Next time, I say
I’ll bring fried plantain
Maybe some fish

Nah fatigue, she says
It’s her common refrain

Fatigue? What irony!
Images flash through my mind
Ten little mouths to feed
And then some
Kids around the neighbourhood
Barefoot, hungry
Eddie, my best friend
Liston or some other beggar
Always a full house
And she, in front of the fireside
All day long
Fire, pot and smoke
And sometimes tears
If we’re lucky
Yard fowl caught and slaughtered
Dipped in boiling water
Feathers plucked and roasted
Or just some greens
From the garden
Poi or pokchoi, bora or baigan
Fish tossed in
Just for taste

Nah fatigue you seh.

How about those long days
Away from home
At the backdam
Backbreaking work
Rice field, tractor, combine
Needle and twine
Hands busy as ever
Stitching rice bags
Counting one, two
Beyond one hundred and
It’s all smiles as the sun goes down The cool night and the numbers
Ease the aching shoulders

Long walks with
Overweight boxes on your head
Cushioned with your rumal
Green bananas, cassava, cucumber
Pregnant but proud
Life’s just got better
Raft built with plantain stalk
And dead wood
Stashed together with vines
No tripping anymore
On those annoying tree roots
A Queen on the Nile
Oblivious to the lazy crocodiles
Snoozing nearby

Nah fatigue!
My album of distant memories
Refreshed, digitized
For another generation
To marvel and dream
Of tractors and snakes
Muddy roads and makeshift rafts
And of people with weather-worn faces and wrinkled hands
Who wrote their destinies
With labour, and with love.


Farhad Khadim is a Toronto-based Guyanese with a passion for writing. This poem is from his first collection “Whispers of Faith” available for free with a Kindle account.