Johana’s kindness killed him.
His generosity switched his lights off.
People say he fed those little wandering demons,
The ones whose delinquency I told you of, remember?

We buried him in his mother’s quarter acre,
Where his generosity had farmed.
The ground was one huge upper lip;
Patched and cracked.
It had been too long.

They dug hoping to hit the soft flesh,
Looking at the polished skies expectantly,
After every foot; six times.
Nothing dropped.
Not a bird pooped.

Mwangi cracked a drunken joke and guffawed.
We tried to smile,
But uneasiness tugged down the ends of our lips.
“Break the ice people!” he said.
Even the sun couldn’t. How could we?

He laughed at us, Mwangi. At our sorrow.
Called us hypocrites.
“Where were y’all when Old Joh starved?”
How would we have known?
He was always smiling at the urchins’ full bellies.

Mwangi laughed on and on.
Thuds hit the coffin on and on.
No one had the strength to chase him away.
We just tucked our cold, bereaved souls together,
Let them snuggle.

Then briskly, we walked home.
Swearing to never feed an urchin.
Naomi, our homes had lost the scent of hospitality.
Welcome was an extinct word,
The sun had overstayed hers.


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