Nubian Baptism
As we grew wanton, heavier, deeper
We walked as if Pharaohs
Into the Nile and its insidious eddies
We washed ashore as if dross
Sunless foreheads shores of Nile aloft
Nubian women cleanliness of our garments, but assured
Lovingly this Nile caressing my beard, my lips kissed wet
And when the water lilies bloomed with deception
Indeed my spirit gaspeth
The last gasp wafting above
And dead when I looked back in regret
Mine sightless eyes beheld, our swollen bodies washed ashore
Impeccably clothed, Nubian fingers our hair dressed
Her svelte mahogany arms
Prophet’s sandals upon our souls placed
Her sunless shoulders ashore the Nile in dance
Lifting us up to stand
And away from Nile to trek

Is she not the beacon of Divine beauty? Is she not the harbinger of Divine beatitude? Is she not the darkness within which mine eyes to see? Is she not the light bore my eyes to blind with? Is she not my courage when in cowardice drowned? Is she not my cowardice when I brave the sins? Is she not my payers when mine tongue with lies tide? Is she not my truth when mine ears with deception pierced? Is she not my wine when my throat unquenched? Is she not my bread when my spirits fatigued? Is she not the alchemy and I the copper? Is the not the gold and I the vault? Is she not the hawk and I the dove? Is she not the dove and I the skies? Is she not the peace and I the war? Is she not the wound and I the sword????????????????
Explanation: The Nile is the life of this world, which we drown into it while our bodies still alive. Garment is what we wear either righteous or evil. Nubian women know how to wash these garments so the men stay cleansed and righteous…

Nomhlahla Zungu bathes her daughter Nomfuno; both are HIV positive. Nomhlahla said, "My mother at first did not want me to disclose my status in public as she had heard that if it was known within the community I might be killed. But they are not being hostile to me. Perhaps many of them know or worry that they might be positive as well."

© 2004-2002,  Dara Shayda