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Dreamings
Jessica Horn
United KingdomGALLERYCONVERSATION
In the dream of a dream. Somewhere inside the coarse melody of breathing, there is a woman. In a dream of a dream, somewhere, there is a...
Three men lean against the bar, focused on the cool froth of their afternoon drinks. A Kenyan beer, Tusker. Their suits are freshly pressed and their talk is pungent like the smell of overripe mangoes. They speak like ageing roosters about the news of the past weeks, and between the gossiping they mourn. Grace’s daughter is sick and she has gone home to the village in Ankole. The rains are heavy and the men hope that the bus will reach the village by nightfall.
An old woman murmurs short prayers as she watches her daughters pounding groundnuts. It is nearing five o’clock and she is wearing a dress of ochre and green that seems at peace with the red clay of the hillsides. Her son Joseph will be marrying on Sunday and the community will be expecting a grand feast. The millet has been ground and is ready to cook but ten kilos of matoke still need to be cut and prepared by the day.
In a dream of a dream. Somewhere between heartbeat and the coarse melody of breathing, there is a woman. In a dream of a dream, somewhere, there is a woman telling stories. The days grow long in each syllable she offers. Sometimes she speaks in bullets that recall the days of armies that swarmed the country like locusts, destroying what they could. Other times she speaks in Nile waters that brought wazungu so far from their homes.
I
In the dream of a dream. Somewhere inside the coarse melody of breathing, there is a woman. In a dream of a dream, somewhere, there is a woman weeping. The cotton of her busuti is creased at the knees after hours of kneeling by the bedside. She is holding tea in one hand, and in the dusk of the day she drinks it. A kerosene lamp lights the motion of hand to cup to sighing lips.

II
In a dream of a dream. Somewhere.

III

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