Monday, August 1, 2016

Mildred K Barya


I am driving a big and long truck that does not have good brakes. I am not afraid. I’ve just left my parents house, heading down on Katembe-Bushuro road. Other drivers are quite reckless so when we come close to a collision, a slight swerve is all that’s needed to stay safe. Instead of stepping on the accelerator or brakes with one foot, I have to use both feet in a clock-wise movement as if pedaling a bicycle. Because of that, I’m applying a lot of energy. Soon I’m going down a hill and lots of pedestrians are crossing the road. I would like to honk, and that’s when I realize that the horn is close to my seat. It’s a bit cumbersome taking my hands off the steering wheel to squeeze the horn near my seat but I have no choice. Whoever designed the truck lacked a fundamental comprehension of ergonomics.

It looks like market day on the road, folks carrying produce, shouting their merchandise: fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, others chatting, laughing and caring less while walking or biking. Potters display their pots, dishes, jugs and mugs on the roadside. Animals too make their fears and hungers known; bleating sheep, grunting pigs, and children crying. Cobblers announce mending shoes and selling sandals made of sisal alongside tanned boots. In a little church nearby, a rooster crows followed by bells ringing. At that point I notice one biker behind me in danger of ramming into me, so I put my head outside the window and ask him to keep some distance between us. Doesn’t he value his life? He grins, rides to my side and starts a conversation, asking how long I’ve been driving the truck, where I am going, why I’m not moving very fast. Even in a dream this is bizarre. But for some reason I do not ignore him. We talk and the milling crowds of people on the road no longer bother me. 

About the Poem 
Whenever I’m on the road I like to steer clear of big trucks. This fear manifests in my dreamscapes implying perhaps that the courage I lack in the natural world thrives in the bizarre and logical world of dreams.
Mildred K Barya has published three poetry collections and short stories in various journals and anthologies such as African Love Stories anthology, Dreams, Miracles & Jazz anthology, Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Quarterly, Northeast Review, and Per Contra. Beginning Fall 2016, she’ll be Assistant prof in the English Department at UNCA. She blogs at: and is a board member of African Writers Trust (AWT).

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