Tabaski.

Holt Mettee - Senegal


February 8, 2017

My brother, my sister’s boyfriend, and the man that works at the corner store across the street shuffle hurriedly past my bedroom door each holding a leg of the sheep. Its limp body sways to the prayer from the mosque. Youssou’s in the back now sitting down in the kitchen doorway that leads to the courtyard outside and starts to prepare the sheep for cooking, his silhouette framed by the doorway, sheep at his feet.  There is a blue plastic bowl filled with organs and intestines. The light catches the purple undertones and veins that reflect the cigarette and cooking smoke. Aida squats cutting the meat over a red plastic bowl the same color as her new glue on nails she had done for the occasion, one of which has fallen into the bowl. Youssou stands up from the sheep carcass laying on the mosaic floor, takes a break from removing the stomach, dances in the kitchen. Fingers and hips stirring the smell and cigarette smoke. Blood stained feet paint the kitchen floor. Aida taps her feet (flip flops and new matching red toenails) to the beat of the song next to the metal bowl with four legs in it. Furry hooves pointing out in scattered angles. The boyfriend picks up the phone, lights another cigarette. Tendrils and swirls of smoke float past my bedroom window, pink walls, slats of glass, screen with holes, yellow curtain. A man in a pale blue boubou prays outside my door on red rug on white tile floor. Stands. Bends down. Gets back up. Sits down on toes and knees. Sways back in forth in time with hotline bling playing in the background.

Laundry on clothesline in front of sky on roof of yellow house. Boy sits on roof above his kingdom. His kingdom is blood stained Tabaski roads, open colorful doors, red dirt that clings to everything. That dusts the small streets in between houses which swell into still silence with night time rain. Reflections of sleepy 5:47 AM clouds and the edges of houses melt into the flooded road dimpled by perfect sweet drops of lazy rain whispering secrets with morning keys. Quiet breaths.

Holt Mettee