Fever Pitch Tent

The howling wind nearly carried us
Over the stubborn campfire
With twigs caught in its bustle and fuss,
Whisked though sere mangrove,
Twisted, dry roots and coarse briar,
To shrub grass coating the hills above.

Animals, living and dead, pressing
Against our tent, kicking the careless
Sortment of bags and bottles dressing
The illegal ash pit danced their derision:
Not scampering game in our headlights, but fearless
Totems of roaming id. So, lying as in prison,

Huddled together as we were,
Each chest against the other,
Linking the fire of clear
Youth, we defied the exposure of dreamless
Heads in a noisy veil. Unable to smother
The fire outside, we knit into seamless

Bulwark the rutted rock
We lay on. Having fought
And laughed, hungered and sung, having gawked
At slopes and swifts that clutch
Life at its stitch to taut
Flesh membranes, we knew the coming touch

Of dawn would break the storm into dew drops
On earth, whose pores, cleansed by mist,
Would reabsorb spirits of this ancient land.
Knowing our skin would save us all, we slept.

© Uche Ogbuji 1995

[First appeared in ELF: Eclectic Literary Forum, 1995]