“The Banana Shot” by Richard Ali

The Banana Shot
for Fatima Umar


All the while you want to reach across the table Place your thumb on her dimple And say —O Fati of the golden bed Zahra of incense and mirrors, Let me write a verse in sand Show you a trick with words That might be true

That I learned to do with a knife

But you say nothing

Her lips move and you think of the undressing of fruit
And long retired Italian footballers


There must be a spider at the centre of the universe That weaves the ways of men, that shapes the path Whose breath is the wind that sets us to sea

In this life of meetings and partings

Finger prints are microcosmic
A dimple is space


Roberto Carlos stands between heaven and earth The wall of death before him, seeking immortality The cheers of men behind him, the Spider Leads the ball home to goal

As I to her


I fly a kite over the great Sahara, wonder Where Fati is right now, if she’d look Up, if she’d see me thinking

Of her.

Richard Ali is a Nigerian author and member of @JaladaAfrica. His debut collection, “The Anguish and Vigilance of Things” will be published by Konya Shamsrumi (Lagos).

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