I follow him

I follow him,
once I knew why.
At least, I recall a reason or two.
Now it’s just habit.

He would sometimes stop,
acknowledge me with a nod.
Then stride across bone-white sand.
The shit of fish!

I have a dream:
he pours rosewater
on my forehead.
And tells me God is Merciful.

I want to tell him this dream
To walk up to him when he stops
But he moves swiftly through the mangrove
He steals the eggs of waterfowl

One day we almost collide
You shouldn’t take those, I say, pointing at the eggs.
It was not what I wanted to say.
I have nothing to eat. The birds will lay eggs again. Come,
he says and strides on maakanaa legs
Then in the forest, he lights a fire
He fries the eggs on an iron pan

Try, he says.
I eat it. It does not taste of egg.
I tell him the dream.
He laughs, his teeth are long and white.
Black gums.
Let’s be friends, he says.
Yes, I tell him, trembling.
I will eat the mangrove apple. You eat the eggs if you must.
I must.
I think about the birds. What must they feel?
For instance, did they suspect lizards?
Or rats?
Do rats swim? I ask him.
It falls from his mouth like a slab of iron.