Akoth Tatu Opondo

Rumour has it I was born during rains
Although it was a December night and
The moon and the stars bore witness to my
Birth as they drifted lazily on the
Landscape Of the clear sky up above like
Astral diamonds. Some say an asteroid
Fell and the sound of its crash was so loud
It kept the devil away. Some, that I
Was powdered with stardust as I was born,
Forming a sticky dough with all the blood
From parturition that could only be
Washed away with drops of holy water,
Shampoo and water from the River Styx.
Impossible some say. Some even say…

Throughout that clear night, as fireflies danced
Around the burning bush while the fire
Spoke of the promise of life, and lovers,
And warmth, and brothers, in an orange tale
Of dancing shadows and a steady heat.
The sky looked upon my brow through cloudy
Eyes but never did a tear drop, instead
The Sky sneezed and shrouded me in fog
With millions of droplets of saliva.
The only drops of moisture that kissed the
Kenyan earth were from the strain of labour
With each bead of sweat stringing together
In a mesh to make a liquid garment
That clothed Mama’s golden brown skin.

The elders danced circles around Mama
And I, singing of a mother’s pain and
A mother’s joy. They danced as they cut me
From Mama, they danced as I cried loudly,
They danced as I suckled and as they danced
They sang. They called me Akoth and Tatu
By virtue of birth and of position,
Papa gave me his name as is custom
And seventeen years prior I was born.

(Happy Birthday Michelle!)