.orion in december
My grandfather is a giant of a man, big bones, big voice, big heart. Last December we sat under the pink sky and watched the stars come in. Nine years of absence coalesced into that minute, that second. He pointed to Orion in the night sky, soft voiced he told my sisters and I how our ancestors, the Maasai followed the stars to rainy seasons, followed the heavens to water.
We sat on the side of a tarmac road riddled with open holes and stared at the same vast existence that his father, and his father before had read with unerring precision, how they mapped out seasons according to stars and the open sky.
In that sliver of time, caught between full light and full dark my bones melted against my skin. To know that last century, last millennia, a small epoch in this corner of earth my grandfather (a hundred generations ago, and a hundred more) stood open face to the dark sky and followed the three spiked belt to water, to dry land, to blood, to earth. To know that he followed Orion home.
this poem appears in N.L Shompole’s book, Heaven Water Blood.